Wednesday, August 29, 2012

General tourist advice for Armenia

From Instagram

Yerevan sleeps late -- 11am openings, closes late -- 1am or 2am mobile cell phone service shops, 7am bars. Yerevan parties hard. If you visit Yerevan my preferred hot spot was Cheers Pub a dive bar pub with great music, service and people. I think I spent 4-5 nights at Cheers straight, and yes, I had tried other pubs
like Eden and other nightclubs... They were all "meh". Since Yerevan sleeps late you'll even see whole families walking around with strollers around midnight. At 7pm-11pm you'll see masses take on tons of coffee shops, something you just do not see and we do not have in the US.

From Instagram

Sorry pot heads, not that type of coffee shop. In fact herb is taboo in Yerevan although from what I was told about 80% of the folks likely do smoke it. Don't ask anyone for it, the penalties for it are stupid even tourists, and the typical life of a dealer consists of getting to jail in about 2 years. I'm a dumb tourist so I asked about it, just as I asked about other random stuff. Curiously enough though everyone is a cigarette smoke fiend... I'm not used to it. That made experiences like hanging out at Eden Pub in Yerevan a hazardous chemical experiment for my eyes. That also made much of the beautiful women less attractive to me. And yes, there are tons of gourgous women out there in Yerevan...

From Instagram

In San Francisco you start going out around 10:30pm and everything closes at 2am, in Yerevan you can start heading out at midnight and at what time you come back will vary, but 2am is when things will actually start to get fun. Odly enough Fridays were slow, the rest of the days were amazing but likely a more reasonable explanation is that when we went out to Cheers we brought the party with us. Always a mob of about at least 6-10 people, typically closing Cheers out maybe at 4-6am. It was great.

From Instagram

Touristy thingies I did. Jermuk. Jermuk was bad ass, specially if you like rock stuff. There is this one point a bit after you pass the big bridge towards the right, right before the main entrance to what I think is the waterfall view park entrance. There seems to be canyon there you can hike to... I wanted to go hike there and never come back. Maybe I will... some day.

The bads. Like in all of Europe, service sucks. Everywhere except hotels and Cheers bar.  I stayed at the Best Western Congress Hotel and everything there was amazing except that slow ancient elevator. Rudeness. Local Armenians can be rude, it does not matter if you are a tourist or not. Its just a backwards cultural values that have not moved forward yet. I'm not quite sure how other cultures have resolved this, is this a typical European issue as well? Cabbies will try to rip you off, just get estimates before you ride with them.

From Instagram
From Instagram

Food is amazing, but in my experience, look either for fancy restaurants in Yerevan or bet for the restaurants on the road when on trips on route to places in Jermuk. The best food I had was when we stopped by a restaurant right before entering Jermuk. There you not only get to try the good local fresh food but also great natural spring water.

From Instagram
From Instagram

The market in Armenia is interesting. You can find great small treats but also very interesting unexpected oddities like used medical operation equipment and a whole bunch of chemical lab components. My favorite though, of course, was the local hooker art.

From Instagram

One of my best memories about Yerevan though will be my great conversations with the local folks. Both local Armenians who have never left or those who are coming back from their original departures. I never had a dull conversation with any Armenian and the types of conversations I had were all extremely stimulating and very eye opening.
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