Notes From Hairenik
October 6, 2005

The wedding was a huge success as I had mentioned before. Guests from Switzerland, the US, South Africa, Russia, and of course Armenia were with us, including my parents. My dad made a very moving toast/speech towards the beginning of the reception—it was a emotional day to say the least. The reception lasted until 1:00 am, when the band started to sing a song called “Goodnight everyone and thanks for coming.” The organizing of the day’s events was chaotic, however, as I was left to deal with coordinating the taxis as well as trying to sort out my attire problem; the shirt my mother brought with her had a defect as the collar was not straight. Photos of the wedding/reception were taken by friend and photojournalist Onnik Krikorian.

I reviewed the video tape shot by a “professional” videographer and was gravely disappointed. I told him I wanted mostly footage of people mingling and talking to one another, either up close or at a distance with a zoom. Instead he shot three hours of people dancing. But at least the church footage is decent, and a second “amateur” camera with footage taken by Ariga’s uncle Sarkis Hakopian and anyone else who picked it up captured what I wanted, although it was limited. I plan to go through all the footage and edit it on my iBook during the next month, but I need to use a PAL Mini DV video camera to do so, as my NTSC camera is unable to play as well as export footage from PAL-recorded tapes. If anyone reading this living in Armenia has a PAL DV camera who wants to lend it to me, please contact me.

I spent most of the last two weeks showing my parents as much of Armenia as possible. We drove around Lake Sevan one day, and on others visited the Lori Region, including Vanadzor, Odzun, and monasteries Sanahin and Haghpat. We also visited Dilijan, where we visited the spectacular Hagartsin monastery, and Karabagh. A trip to Meghri was cancelled unfortunately due to time restraints.

One afternoon was spent visiting the Kharpert Museum located at one of the schools in Nor Kharpert, which incidentally is in dire need of complete renovations (as are hundreds of schools throughout Armenia)—the first two floors were reeking of urine as the restrooms no longer work properly.

They also had an opportunity to visit Sergey Minasian’s farm in Vosketap, located in the Ararat Region, where they were captivated by Mount Ararat, as is anyone seeing it up close and personal for the first time.

My parents also witnessed Armenian corruption and bribery at their very essence. One day on the way back to Yerevan from Sardarabad we were pulled over by a traffic cop, and thus to get rid of the guy after I understood he was going to give me a hard time I slipped a 1000 dram note to him when he asked for my car’s “passport.” So they saw a bit of everything for sure.

It meant a lot to me and Ariga that my parents were able to come. They left Armenia with lasting impressions and great expectations for a prosperous, hopeful future, which is important for anyone to come away with.

Anyway, above are some photos taken by our friend Dorota Niedzwiecka from Switzerland and uncle Sarkis.


Blogger Ara said...
Were back from America, getting over our jet-lag in Martuni. Will be back in Yerevan next week and can lend you our PAL mini DV camera. Give me a call after the 14th so we can hook up.