One family's diary, journeys and thoughts

Saturday, August 19, 2006


The other day, mom and I went out and decided to visit one of her cousins who didn't know we were here yet. He worked at a bank, so we asked him to come down while the workers at the front desk gave us disapproving glances. He invited us to a cafe and he and my mom started talking. He, too, was surprised I was mom's daughter(sounds kinda weird!) Anyway, he and mom talked about relatives and eventually found out that he was her uncle, and that his two sons were my uncles. Of course, his sons are 8 and 10, so Vicky and I have a 8-year old uncle and an 10- year old uncle. Funny how things work out. We had to strain to look at his face because he was well over 6 feet tall. I think he was little taller than Jonathan. Also, at the cafe we were at, there was a freaky-lookin clown going around selling flowers to people. He put two flowers in front of us and we had to forcefully give them back to him and tell him we didn't want them. Then the clown started an argument at another table where a couple was sitting. He shoved a flower in the girl's face, and her boyfriend yelled at the clown and told him to go away. I couldn't help laughing. Only in Armenia...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Couple o'pics

This one's called "Krazy Kat II" (It's taken by me from above.) I caught her at a "bad time."
Kinda freaky lookin' don't ya think?

(For those of you who saw this last night, I edited this post.)

And this one is a picture of a dragonfly taken by me when mom was away and I was bored. Of course, it's been edited a bit via Photoshop. My mom named this one "Pimped_Dragonfli"

Ah yes, the joys of Armenia

I just had to post this because I thought it was hilarious. Mom and I went to a little movie store to buy an Armenian movie that my mom wanted real bad. When we were about to leave, a man walked in and asked the guy working there (in Armenian, of course), "So, what do you have that's not pirated." (sigh) Only in Armenia.....

Roxy's Speech About Being Bored

Mo-o-o-om, I'm bored!!!!!!!!

Can I bake? NoOOO! Because we don't have an oven!
Can I cook something? NOOOOO! Because we don't have the ingredients!
Can I read a book? NOOOO! Because I just finished the one I was reading!
Can I go to Barnes and Noble and look at Garfield comics? NOOOOO!
Can I go to PetCo and admire the animals? NOOOO!!!
Can I walk the dog? NOOOOO! Because we don't have one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vicky's comment on reading this: "Mom has issues!"

Now, who is really the one who has issues?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Just pics

A beautiful morning view of the city and Mount Ararat.

Old and new - side by side.

And finally - if you thought the crows are balck everywhere, think again. In Armenia, they are black and grey.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Where is MPAA when you need it?

While I was working at Softitler, a visit of MPAA inspectors meant hassle. Not that there was anything wrong with the way we worked, but when you know you will be looked at through a microscope... you probably know the feeling. The inspectors stopped by every now and then to make sure the intellectual property, i.e. movies and videomaterials we worked with, is safe and secure with us.

I wish they would stop by Armenia one day.

Piracy is rampant here. We have already seen it all: movies recorded straight from the movie theatre, copies of promotional disks that Academy members get, illegal copies of licensed discs with menu and credits cut off... While those were rentals, we just laughed about it (I mean, really - what can one do?). But the other day we bought a DVD of Second Hand Lons, which was posing as a licensed edition from Russia. Only after we brought it home we realized it was a copy of a promotional disc. The phrase "For promotional use only, sale or rental of this disc is illegal" rolled across the screen every 5 minutes or so, and the picture was changing from color to black and white and back every 10 min. Imagine trying to watch one of your favorite movies like that!

So naturally, the very next day I took the DVD back to the store and asked for my money back. A bored-looking guy informed me they are not a rental place, so I can't watch a movie and bring it back. I told him the disc is faulty. He tried to prove to me that it's the way it's supposed to be. I told him it's illegal to sell discs like that, and that, knowing English, I can read the MPAA warning and know where the source disc came from. He laughed in my face!

Yes, I did get my money back eventually, but I didn't enjoy the experience. As in, I am not going back to that store. Considering I am planning to purchase a lot of my favorite Russian movies and take them back with me to the US, they lost quite a customer...

So, where is MPAA when you need them?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hiking Trip?

Thursday morning, i find myself being pulled out of bed by mom, saying hurry up and take a shower so we can leave. And, it's, like, 7 am. At 9 am, i finally got out of bed and was told to get ready quickly or we would be late. Turns out, we were supposed to go on a tour with this guest service, but by the time we got there, we were 20 minutes late. So I ate my speedily packed breakfast at a cafe, and we decided to take a minibus to Tsakhkadzor resort and visit some friends staying there. The ride took about an hour, with mom sleeping on my shoulder most of the time, as she had not gotten any sleep the night before. We went up to the hotel and met two of mom's friends there. After a little chatting and of course a few pictures, we set off on our hike, promising to come back and say goodbye before we left. As we set out on our hike, it became clear that it was going to be hot. Very hot. And it was. Mom was expecting to find a familiar road that would take us to a mineral water spring. But when we got up to the place, we found the road blocked by construction. So we took a detour this way, then we took a detour that way, but none seemed the right road. Finally, mom saw something that looked familiar. So we went on. Soon, we found ourselves in the middle of some forest, on a road that, as mom said, was not the right one. So we pushed our way through plants and countless spider webs, aiming for what sounded like music. We finally arrived back where the construction was. In fact, there was a lawn where a couple of guys were having a picnic of sorts. I think we sorta startled them, appearing out of the forest and all. Anyway, we found another road and took that one. ("The Road Goes Ever On and On...") This one was, as mom said, more familiar looking. But then we passed a bridge and the road became asphalt. Not right. So, as was our custom by now, we turned back and went under the bridge. The whole time, the sun was beating down upon us, and i was very tired and dehydrated. It was no short distance. So much for promises of shade! Anyway, the road under the bridge (dubbed by me "The Bridge of Khazad- Dum"- did i spell that right?) proved to be the right one, and finally, we made it. We then found ourselves looking skeptically at a small stream of water pouring from a pipe into a river. Mom decided to be the brave one and tried the water. We had found our mineral water spring. Now, the stream didn't look like much, but the water was worth the entire hike, detours and all. It was the best water i had ever tasted. Like non- carbonated mineral water only better. This was straight from the source. We decided to rest on a nearby stone, and eat the rest of my sandwich which i had started on earlier. As is her traditon, mom went off taking pictures while i sat down and enjoyed the cold water and the scenery. That is, the trash left by the people who came before us. Like cheese boxes floating in the water and cheese wrappers on the ground. But it was very pretty nonetheless. After a short rest, we decided to head back as it was already 4 0'clock. The journey back was much more enjoyable, i must say. I was refreshed, there were no detours, and we both were in a better mood. On the way, we picked up some trash others had left there. It was a sight to see, me carrying a plasic bag with pepsi and beer bottles in it, and mom dragging two huge tarps behind her. Then she tried a fruit she thought she knew. Turns out, she didn't know it, and she got a very bitter taste in her mouth. I told her not to get poisoned because i don't know how to dial 911. Anyway, we went down to the village to get some food. We stumbled upon a friendly-looking cafe called Coffee Break. The kabobs and barbeque were deelish and so was the famous local bread. While mom was driking her coffee, she thought she might examine her wallet to see how much money we had left. She looked in her backpack but couldn't find it. I told her to look harder. It was a large backpack. Still, she didn't find it. Then we began to worry. She looked another time, but it wasn't there. Quickly, we told the waiter to hold our coffee and asked if we could leave something of value there while we went to look for the wallet. He said that wasn't necessary. Kinda weird how he trusted us to come back. Anyway, we got in a cab and told the driver to take us back to the mineral water spring. Poor taxi. He had to drive it on a small and very bumpy path which we had conveniently detoured around. He parked nearby, and mom and i literally ran back to the stone where we had rested. We looked on it, around it, beside it, and in the river. No sign of the wallet. The cab driver told us that people stopped by this spot often, and if we had left it here, someone probably took it. But the place looked undisturbed. Then mom said we might have left it at the hotel bathroom, where we refreshed ourselves before the hike. By now, that seemed as likely as anything, since there was another bag missing, which she had also taken out in the bathroom. So we drove back to the hotel. We arrived and looked in the bathroom. No wallet or bag. The cab driver asked the bartender of the nearby bar if they had found anything. The man asked what was inside the wallet and bag. Mom said it contained money and a passport. Then, to our undescribable relief, a woman at the bar handed us our wallet and said one of the maids had found it in the bathroom. We almost cried with relief. The wallet had about 750 dollars in it, and the bag had a house key and passport. Ironically, mom had forgotten to take the money out before we left. So we were walking aroung with almost 800 dollars in our pockets. You can imagine how happy we were. We thanked the bartender (and the Lord), gave the cab driver twice as much as we should have, and went to visit our friends in the hotel. One of them, our former neighbor, said we should reward the barman. But mom didn't feel comfortable with that. Why should you pay someone for being honest. Is honesty really that scarce? We decided to do that later. We went down to the village, paid for the dinner and took a taxi back to Yerevan. We paid whatever local currency we had left to the driver (good thing taxis here are cheap!) and got out at the taxi's stop across town from our house, tired and with no money exchange in sight. No Armenian money, no bus ride home. So we walked and walked until, at last, we found a place, got money, and went home. then we bought a DVD (Second Hand Lions) and watched it, sore feet and all. Let's just say it took a while to describe our journey to Vicky afterwards. Phew!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

how old?

More on the cat. When we first found her, we didn't know how old she was, but we knew she couldn't be too young. When we decided to keep her, my mom read a book on cats and concluded that she was in fact only about 8 weeks old, younger than we thought. So she was only 6 weeks old when we found her. But when the vet stopped by yesterday ans checked her out, he informed us that she was in fact only about 4 weeks old, 5 tops. So when we got her, she was only about 2 or 3 weeks old. It's really strange. As I told mom yesterday, "The longer we keep her, the younger she gets." Mom laughed at that one. So we are currently housing a 4 or 5 week old kitten. Yay! (here's a picture of her after her second shower, when she stepped in her own poop and had to be washed. isn't she cute?)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Phamily foto

My dad, Roxy and I under a walnut tree that might remember Alexander the Great trumping by...


It’s been almost a week now that we are without Internet. The entire country has no connection. Know why? Because there is just ONE phone company here, same one that provides the access to all various providers in Armenia. No matter who you sign up with, you are connecting through ArmenTel. And if ArmenTel is down… yeah, you got it. It has been turbulent at the company, what with the ownership changing and all, but WHAT HAVE I GOT TO DO WITH IT??? And you would think you can hold someone responsible for me missing work assignments (which I get via e-mail) and Vicky having a major cow, but nooooo! Kinda sad, don’t you think? Even now, as I write this blog, I have no idea when I should be able to post it. GR-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-rf!!!!!!!

Just venting.

On a more positive note, we are now having our cat vaccinated, immunized and all that. I do believe she must be around 8 weeks old now, but the vet should be able to tell us for sure.

And, it is now almost certain that Roxy will have to be home schooled, unless by God’s grace I find a job at the US embassy. The only English language school in Armenia is at the US embassy, and that is free only for embassy and US AID employees. Everyone else pays 1200 bucks a months, and that only if you are a US citizen legally employed in Armenia. Otherwise, don’t even waste your 25 cents getting to the embassy…

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Some news

The good news is, we seem to have found a nice church. We have only been there once so far, and there was a guest speaker there that day, but is looks really nice and Bible-based and... just feels right, I guess. And the pastor is very enthusiastic and on fire for the Lord. Just a tad bit more formal than what we are used to, but then, what can you do, Armenians like formal.

And, while you are here, drop by Angela's blog, too: www.abatts.blogspot.com
Those of you, who know Angela, that is. She just started one and, I am sure, it will a place for great pics.

More pics

This is called "The Krazy Kat"

And this, "Like Mother, Like Daughter"