Towards Yerevan. Part I

They turned me down at the gate of the Khosrov reserve: ever since the wildfires started within, it’s been a political headache—heads were gonna roll, ands no one wanted to take the heat, so to cover their asses they were refusing to let anyone in. However, after explaining my story, the gatekeeper said that if I could wait a little, I could speak with the man in charge.

He arrived with a cavalry of ten or more men, all dressed in various shades of camouflage—a classic Armenian display of rugged masculinity. The big man never took off his shades, and, quite literally throwing his weight around, eventually permitted me to use the paved road that passed through the reserve that headed north to Martuni—“No left, no right”.

But Chloe and I only make it a few kilometers when she suddenly receives a worrisome e-mail: with her spotty connection, no one can get in touch with her, and if her university catches wind, she could land herself in trouble. Reacting quickly, we decided to head back to the nearest city—but for her to catch a bus or taxi from there, it would be a long walk, but time was of the essence and we had to head back.

Not far after passing through Urtsadzor again, a friendly, chubby man in a van pulls up, and offers us a ride: he was heading to his fields, and curiosity had gotten the best of him. He takes us to a hidden mineral spring in the middle of a quarry to drink and wash in the healing waters. Then he dropped us off at the city bus stop. I sent Chloe on her way with the promise to meet up again when I reach Yerevan; my plan was now to go there straight that day, 30+ kilometers of flat valley land: the breadbasket of Yerevan.

I found a canal that brings water to irrigate the fields from high up in the mountains, and walked alongside it, heading north. Dry and dusty, but flat, I believed I could walk all through the day and into the night until I reached Yerevan. But it’s not just me making the trip—I have the crew, tired and less enthusiastic about walking so long. I reached the water reservoir—the source for the canal near Yerevan—just as night fell. From where I was, I could see the electric glow of the sprawling metropolis stretching out into the distance, echoing the faint stars above, replacing them.


PS. See Part II in next episode…