Eventually, I had to leave Armenia. My last morning was a microcosm of the trip. I walked through Yerevan’s slow-roast heat, saw a good friend, wandered through a half-collapsed building with families still living in it (in the middle of the city), and ate a lot of these dried-fruit-plus-nuts-in-chocolate, which I’d been addicted to from day one.
I never did ask what their name was (can someone read that for me?), but I’m sure I ate roughly 15 kilos’ worth, if receipts can be believed. And here’s another reason my pants no longer fit when I left:
Pierogies happen to be one of my all-time favourite foods (they’re a staple of Ukrainian-influenced Manitoba) and I cannot get them in Sydney (well, I can, at $20 a plate, which is the same as not being able to get them). These pierogies, in the tunnel under Yerevan’s train station, cost about 18 cents (or 25 cents if you insist on ground beef). But mainly I blame all the candy and pastries (not to mention the frankly insane amount of salt in most food) for the extra 4 or 5 kilos I gained over 2 months.
On my last morning, just like a movie script, I finally saw Ararat. Is that symbolic of how much of Armenia had been revealed to me? Only if this really were a movie, I guess.
I waited for the taxi in the hostel lobby. It was late, so I was nervous that I would miss my flight, but also that I would catch my flight and it would crash. A man came in and started shouting at the receptionist in what I still would have sworn was anger until they both laughed and smiled. Cigarette smoke filled the room, choking me. At least there were some things I was happy to leave.
And here’s that picture of the Yerevan Metro I promised! (Thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?)