Journey to Armenia
In the beggining of summer, journalist Alexei Morozov, who works in Arkhangelsk regional newspaper Pravda Severa, visited Armenia and shared his impressions of this country. On the way from Gyumri to Yerevan author talked to taxi driver - old Armenian, Vano: "We live poorly, there's no work, many people work in Russia. This is all because of war with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. It requires a lot of money. Our people continue to die. Who would have thought. I served in Azerbaijan when I was young. We had good relations with them."
Vestnik Kavkaza presents fragments of these travel notes.
After learning that I'm Russian writer and journalist, Vano said: "Don't write that I took so much money from you (two and a half thousand rubles for two hours). You see, I'll have to go back from Yerevan to Gyumri at night. It's a long road." I said that I don't mind, that I would pay much more in Russia.
Then we finally saw burning lights of Yerevan. Both of us didn't know road to hostel, so we asked Yerevan residents. As a result, we reached necessary station of metro, already closed by that time. And then I was almost got lost in an unfamiliar city. I found the right street quite quickly, but the right building... Late evening, there's rain, I ask everyone about hostel - no one knows. I couldn't find the building. It was too dark. I even asked local taxi driver, he tried to find my hostel on the navigator and... he didn't find it.
Before this trip I read this opinion: traveling alone can help you to get out of comfort zone. While I was wandering along crooked, unfamiliar streets of this huge city, where I didn't know anybode, I thought that I definetely achieved this. I could be in a hotel in Paris, or, at worst, in an apartment in Arkhangelsk. But God heard my prayers and one of passers-by said: "Hostel? Yeah, it's about hundred meters away from here." I go there, wonderful woman Karina opens the door, gives me the keys. "It's just that our signboard is not very noticeable, and it's dark, that's why you got lost." I was so happy. I was afraid that I'll spend this night under the rain, or that I'll have to look for other hotel or hostel. I went to 24-hour supermarket and had supper, and then went to sleep. After that I had four amazing days.
Living in Armenia is hard, just like in any country of the former USSR. Yerevan is beautiful, it receives investments, something is always built there, but provinces look gray and poor compared to it. On the way back, after visiting lake Sevan, we drove to a small town to find a temple of the 13th century. I was amazed by broken roads, almost destroyed houses, poorly dressed people. People from provinces here don't live better than in Russia or Ukraine, people complain, recalling times when 15 republics lived together.
Adult men can't always support their families in Armenia. They go to work as taxi drivers, but the income is small. Women, despite local principles, also work here, but earn even less than men. True, when I was here I haven't seen a single drunk man. Proud Armenians prefer to sell vegetables or fruits, to clean shoes, make kebabs or work as taxi drivers, but not ask for money. There are rich people who own restaurants, clubs and casinos, but there's few of them. Everyone know their names.
When I left Yerevan I have already fell in love with this wonderful country... Even if local churches have no icons, local names of streets and other places are written in Armenian and English, we're very close with Armenians, who gave composer Aram Khachaturian, painter Martiros Saryan, Frunzik Mkrtchyan and charming Armen Dzhigarkhanyan to the world.