Raughley Goes to Armenia Part II

I’m becoming more and more of a blogging delinquent.  I’m also becoming perhaps too predictable.  What does that mean?  Well, let me give an example or two.

A few weeks ago, I was upstairs visiting a coworker in her office.  Whether it was work or hot water for my coffee, I thanked her as I left.  “Should I be Raughley?” she asked.  I raised a metaphorical eyebrow in her direction–you see, truth be told, I can’t just raise one.  She grinned at me and replied, “My pleasure!” breaking into a fit of laughter.

A few days later, another coworker was asking me how I was doing as we walked into the office.  We were conversing in Georgian, as we are sometimes wont to do, and she complimented my Georgian comprehension (I’ll be the first to admit that my vocab and speaking aren’t top notch).  As I opened my mouth to voice a humble reply she spoke with me, “I try.”  Maybe I should mix up my vocabulary in English now and then, eh?

So it’s been far too long since I’ve written and I plum forgot where I left off!  Bear with me for a moment while I search and discover my prior stopping place (what’s one more moment going to matter after over two weeks of inactivity?)  In the meantime, please enjoy the following premature, belatedly seasonal interlude:

Okay, so my story left off with Leire, Uros, Marissa, and I heading to the top of the hill in the center of Yerevan on our way to meet the Mother of Armenia.  I had just stopped for a CCCP Ice Cream and enjoyed it thoroughly!

We continued through the park in the general direction of the Mother when we came across a lovely little pond!

The Mother of Armenia is different from the Mother of Georgia in one notable way, but more on that later!

We munched some popcorn and made a delightfully spur-of-the-moment to treat Leire to her first ever paddleboat ride!  At least, I think it was she who had never done it before….

We got the boats for something like thirty minutes! Plus we had an EU v. US Olympic race!
The Armenian children won the race though.

Similar to Mtatsminda, here in Tbilisi, the hill in Yerevan has a small amusement park at the top.  It has a bunch of rides, games, shops as seen previously, paddleboats, obviously, and what must be the single greatest ride of all time!

Unlike Mtatsminda, the hilltop was littered with old Soviet Military hardware.
I presume this tank is aiming at Turkey.
Armenia's Mother is similar to the Mother of Georgia. She's tall, metal, grim, holding a sword in one hand while in the other she holds...also the sword. Wait a second....

As the afternoon wore on and threatened of rain, we decided we didn’t want to be on the top of a hill at the base of a giant woman-shaped lightning rod surrounded by tanks, trucks, missiles and planes.  Something about it just didn’t seem so safe….  Also, we didn’t want to get wet.

See? Look at that gloomy cloud over there!! I don't think Marissa and I had a spare set of clothes to get wet !
But wait! what cloud on yonder window breaks?
Sure enough, the storm started to break up and blow away revealing...
Mt. Ararat!

We descended back the way we came, kind of, and realized we were starving.  Someone had a guidebook or a fancy phone with a fancy app and we decided to hit up a Syrian-Armenian Fusion restaurant.  We got expensive rice and lamb dishes, some delicious wine, and we sat into the cool evening drinking, toasting, and chatting.

We decided to play a brief game of “Stupid Questions for your foreign friends!”  Basically, the way it works is that everyone has some incredibly stupid question that they want answered.  You just take turns asking them, judgment free!  In our case, neither Marissa nor I had seen many microwaves in Europe, prompting the stupid question, “Do you have microwaves in Europe?” with the stupid answer, “Yes, of course we do.”

This was met in turn by a stupid European question, “Cheerleaders aren’t a real thing, are they?”  Stupidly, the answer is, “Yes, of course they are.”  (I’ll leave the meaning of “stupidly” up to the reader’s interpretation)

We parted ways with Leire and Uros, and trudged in the dark towards the couch we were surfing on.  After having spent such a magnificent day with our Euro-buddies we dreaded returning to the dirty, uncomfortable floor of the Iranian grad students.  As we left Uros and Leire’s hostel I turned to Marissa and asked, “Hey, how much money do we have?  How much would you be willing to pay to not stay on that nasty old floor?”  She lit up and answered, “We have enough,” a smile escaping her face.

We crafted the perfect lie–that our TLG friends had just arrived in Yerevan and wanted us to come stay with them at their friend’s place–and marched back to the couch confidently.  Well, mostly confidently.  Marissa waited in the shadows by a university while I went in, told our lie, and gathered our things.

That night we slept so soundly.  It was late when we got there and it was amazing.  We even took stand-up showers in the morning, passing off a stranger’s shampoo.  (Oh god!  Are we those people??)

After surprising Leire and Uros at breakfast, we found a bus to take us to the Genocide Museum.  I won’t bore you with stories of the Armenian Genocide (Or if you’re Turkish, “The Big Misunderstanding of 1915”), but it was a really well-done museum!  I even got to take pictures for my probably-dead research projects.

We bade Yerevan a fond farewell and embarked upon the extremely bumpy road back to Tbilisi in the early afternoon and arrived by evening.  I didn’t try to take border photos this time, which was good, and we collapsed into my apartment that night.  It was an excellent adventure, though sadly our last adventure together of the South Caucasus :(.  But that doesn’t mean it was the last adventure anywhere!







2 thoughts on “Raughley Goes to Armenia Part II

  1. Hello,

    So this may be completely and utterly random. However, as someone who was recently accepted to teach in Georgia I find myself in a rut, for lack of a better term. I was wondering how the health care system is in Georgia and the health insurance we receive by being a teacher with the program. I have attempted to contact other’s but haven’t had any success and noticed you are one of the recent bloggers. I hope to hear from you soon and hope this does not come as an annoyance in anyway.

    Best Regards,
    Liz Santos

    1. Hello Liz!
      I love random! If anything, random has provided me with my best times in Georgia!
      The Georgian healthcare system is very lacking in some ways and very adequate in others. They have one Modern, Western clinic in Tbilisi, and all the rest of the hospitals fall somewhat below Western standards. Now, that said, you don’t need hyper-modern clinics for most ailments and the Health insurance covers nearly everything you will encounter quite well! I have heard of one case where a volunteer ran out of insurance and had to leave for home, but his was a very, very serious medical problem.

      The Health insurance covers almost everything. I’ve found it to be perfectly good for all my needs (flus, cuts, stomach problems) and my friends agree. Insurance-provided doctors can be visited at clinics, or even do housecalls! Please let me know if you’ve got any other questions and I’ll happily answer them to the best of my abilities!


      PS- You can also email TLG with such questions at info@tlg.gov.ge! That’s the email they use for applicants and such!

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