Armenia has proven to be a very difficult place to get internet access–I’m not sure why, but I’ve had better luck finding internet cafes in other countries. Most of the gaming lounges (my chief source of internet access) only provide Playstation and Xbox consoles, no PC’s. However, I was finally able to find a place that has Counterstrike, so I’m online.
My first day in Armenia was very nondescript. I drove to Yerevan, the capital, and found that the tourism industry is not nearly as well developed as in Georgia. I had no idea where to go, so in the end, I paid for a hostel as I was quite tired and in need of both a shower and laundry. The following days saw me do the typical tourist track–museums, a depository of ancient manuscripts, and a wonderful tour of Ararat Brandy factory. I met up at the latter with a few other tourists, and together, we spent the day tasting Armenian brandy and eating locally, where a group of young Armenians joined us briefly and we were given a performance of folk music.
Eventually, I left Yerevan and began to knock off some of the main tourist destinations. Two historical facts dominate Armenia–first, it was the first country to adopt Christianity as a national religion in 301. The second fact is that the Armenians underwent the first genocide of the twentieth century, a genocide which in some ways helped lay the foundation for the holocaust. While hitching, I was given a pin with a forget-me-not, the symbol of the Armenian genocide. True to its symbolism, the pain of that experience is still part of the Armenian psyche.
The upshot of Armenia’s early adoption of Christianity is that nearly every tourist destination is either or a church or has a church. Fortunately, many are in some of the most beautiful areas of Armenia, but it is easy to feel as though I’m walking through an endless procession of ancient churches. Happily, there is another upside to hitchhiking in Armenia, and that is that the hospitality of the people disallows boredom. Wherever I have been, I have received nothing but hospitality, whether it’s the military giving me homemade wine or my hitch offering me weed.
Unfortunately, I am running out of time, and the computer will not upload my pictures, so I hope for a little patience!
In other news, I continue to duct tape my backpack to keep it together and think of an exit strategy to get back to the US.
Thanks for reading!