Notes From Hairenik
January 1, 2009

It has been snowing slowly but steadily in Yerevan during the past few days, casting a shroud of wintry magnificence throughout the city. It’s perfect weather for the New Year season I think. For once the city is tranquil, as most drivers tend not to drive in this slippery stuff since they can barely drive in the first place. Not to mention everyone is too busy drinking.

Indeed the continuous revelry has already begun. One week of merriment is upon us, to consume all you can manage to eat and drink to your heart’s content, with the usual assorted salads laden with sour cream and mayonnaise, dolma, and New Year’s ham (Armenians are big on ham for some reason). I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the coming of 2009. It’s the first time I’ve enjoyed the holidays in Armenia in four years, too long a wait.

Last night I watched the clock strike twelve at Anush’s parents’ home surrounded by food and drink before heading to her friend Ripa’s house, where I drank seven-year old Armenian brandy with her dad, Seyran (who incidentally works for Armenia Tree Project). He is a fantastic guy who loves to drink and laugh. But despite having drunk several shots after having a half-bottle of vodka during the last hours of 2008 I wasn’t very drunk, which impressed my host very much. Anush and I walked home shuffling through the snow and avoiding an all-too-common drunken fistfight that erupted on the corner of Sayat Nova and Khanjian. The snowflakes were very light, gently caressing our cheeks as if to comfort us with the hope of a prosperous new year.

Once again wishing all the best to everyone for 2009.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I love reading your blog! I would like to know more about old skool cars. I want to bring a Lada Niva back home. I am also considering an electric version of the Lada OKA too.

Youtube (electric OKA)-

Electric OKA website:

It would be great to know your opinions on alternate energy and old skool Soviet Autos!

Sincerely, Ani

Blogger Christian Garbis said...
Well, I have written considerably about the Niva on this blog. In the Search field that appears at the top of the left margin of the Web page, type Niva and click Search to view a list of links to several posts.

If you really want a Niva take into consideration that you may be required to make several modifications so that it meets emissions requirements where you live. At one time they were selling the Niva in Canada, so if you are based in the US you may be able to get one there rather than bring one back from Armenia or elsewhere in Europe for instance. Also note that although they are easy to repair, parts for the Niva are hard to come by in countries where they are not common.

I don't know anything about the OKA, but if you are living in the US, I recommend buying a hybrid, like a Prius. The Civic by Honda is also a hybrid now from what I understand. Expect a reliable Russian car running on alternative energy in no less than 10 years. A large number of Russian cars are outfitted on the aftermarket to run on affordable, clean burning natural gas, which Russia is exporting all over the region, so something tells me Lada is not too concerned about making reliable vehicles that run on alternative energy.