We got into Yerevan around 5AM and Mat had to be to the local eye hospital at 10AM. The missionaries were kind enough to get us a hotel so we could sleep off the rest of our jet lag and actually function for the day. We crashed into a deep sleep and unfortunately our alarm did not go off. Everyone was waiting for us in the lobby and we caused a 20minute delay in Monday's schedule. After feeling the tension from our mistake, we learned that next time, our plan B will be to get a wake up call.
Pictured Left to Right: Erik (our driver and translator), Elder and Sister Stone and their daughter Jeanne Ann.
Oh and that blue dye I was going to wash off from my ankles and knees from the night before? That was going to have to be covered by a long skirt.
Here is Mat and Dr. Armein. Yes! A woman doctor. Many of the ophthalmologists in this country are women.
They have just a hospital for eyes. The church has donated a bunch of equipment to her clinic. They have also provided doctors, Mat, to come and train them on plastics cases they don't know how to do.
I set off for my own journey visiting the mission home and touring a few places with the Griffith's (Senior missionaries) who were leaving for home in the morning. We ate at a missionary favorite, a Japanese restaurant--I'm blanking on the name, but they love the fried pork here. It was good. Yes, I tried it---I have manners.
Pictured from left to right Sister Carter (mission president's wife), Jeanne Ann (Elder and Sister Stone's, humanitarian missionaries, daughter), Me, Sister Griffiths, LeAnna (local translator) Armenia tidbit: all their a's are pronounced with a schwa sound as in Uh. Very pretty.
After lunch, we set off to visit the local monastery, south of Yerevan. Along the way, we were lucky enough to catch Mt. Ararat somewhat visible. Utahns, imagine two Timpanogases stacked on top of one another. That is how big this mountain is, and for those that don't know, that is where they believe they have found remnants from Noah's Ark.
Lots of grape vines for local wine and cemeteries crawl along the country side.
Here is where christianity, something Aremnians claim they are the first country to recognize as a whole country, started. The monastery of Khor Virap was built around the pit in which St. Gregory, the evangelist to the Armenians, was held prisoner for more than a decade.
Here is the pit St. Gregory lived in for 13 years while the pegan king kept him captive. A peasant woman from the village would throw him pieces of bread that kept him alive. The peagan king eventually had visions of Christ and felt like he should change the countries ways and let Gregory go. From that day forth, the Armenian people were Christians.
Here is where they still sacrafice animals to this day. First they let the animal bleed out and then cut it into 7 pieces, 7 representing some kind of symbolism, and then they give pieces of the animal to those they need to bless.
Scenery surrounding the monastery.
As soon as Mat was finished, we took an afternoon nap. It's amazing how slow your reflexes and cognitive abilities become when you haven't had sleep. I felt like a drunk.
Now that we were rested, we walked up to Republic Square.
We had dinner at Dolmama where the waiter insisted on what we should eat and how we should not listen to what our silly brains were trying to tell us. They are very blunt and cut to the chase. Mat and I laughed after he went to put in our order. The waiter was right however, it was all delicious. He later treated us with complimentary apricot vodka..... I again did not want to be rude, so I poured it into my water glass and we ran out the door.
We browsed a local art shop and grabbed some gelato
We soaked in the night air at Republic Square. Armenians are proud of their country and so they keep this area of the city looking very nice and traditional. Many of the trees dwell in the part of town in what is called Old Yeravan. The trees around the surrounding areas were cut down and used for fuel when they were trying to survive from the tragic earthquake in the 90s. Many people needed them for heat. But right in this little heart of the city, a mere four or five blocks, you have glam and ritz.