Monthly Archives: July 2017

Sunday lunch

The mass at Tatev monastery is a real workout. The service lasts at least two hours, during which the congregation stands. At intervals the faithful must dip to touch the floor, kneel for protracted periods on slabs of stone, and … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Christianity, Church, Cross-cultural understanding, drinking, Food, friendship, Great weekends, joy, Language, Language learning, Religion, Social niceties, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Village life, Women | Leave a comment

Thunder Road

I call it the Thunder Road, although there is nothing loud, scary or stormy about it, and there’s not a Hell’s Angel or Harley Davidson in sight. No sign of Bruce or his bandana either. The road from Sisian to … Continue reading

Posted in Antrim coast, apricots, Archaeology, Armenia, Beauty, Caucausus, Cross-cultural understanding, Driving, Giants Causeway, Great weekends, History, joy, Nature, Northern Ireland, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel | 4 Comments

In the Pink at the Raspberry Festival

The mayor was wearing a shiny blue suit with a silvered stripe. He stood out in the heat of the day, not least because almost everyone around him was attired in raspberry pink. The occasion was the Raspberry festival, held … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Beauty, Belfast, Cross-cultural understanding, family, Food, Great weekends, joy, Language, Language learning, love, Northern Ireland, Nostalgia, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Village life, Vodka, Women, work | Leave a comment

Shopping Essentials: A Volunteer Writes

The money is meant for pot-scrubs,a frying pan and perhaps a liter or two of bleach.Canny volunteers might invest in an electric fan to see them through summer, or a stout pair of boots for winter, plus a potato-peeler, a … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, clothes, Cross-cultural understanding, fashion, joy, labour party, shopping, travel | 2 Comments

Arnica in Armenia?

I was walking back to my hostel when I tripped and fell. I blame a tarpaulin trailing from building site fencing. I slipped on it and ended up splayed on the sidewalk with two torn knees, a twisted wrist, and … Continue reading

Posted in accident, Armenia, Embarrassment, errors of judgement, falling, fear, Jermuk, Language, personal failings, resilience, travel | 1 Comment

Taxi Talk

Ara taught himself English from an old phrase book. He was 10 years old and Armenia was at war with Nagorno-Karabakh. His world was an uncertain and dangerous place and Armenia’s economy was in tatters. In 1994 there was nowhere … Continue reading

Posted in apricots, Armenia, Beauty, Cross-cultural understanding, Driving, Drugs, Environment, family, friendship, Great weekends, Household tips, Jermuk, Language learning, Nagorno-Karabakh, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Vacation spots | 1 Comment

At the Shops

Everything in Armenia looks like I built it. Skirting boards stop short of the door trim. Plastic piping pokes through jagged holes in plasterboard and tiling tails off when the money runs out. The whole country is not quite finished … Continue reading

Posted in America, Armenia, Candy, Capitalism, Caucausus, Cross-cultural understanding, Food, Household tips, Nostalgia, shopping, Social niceties, Village life, Women, work | Leave a comment