I learnt a new term – the Near East and liking it a lot. Not the middle and not the far. Why is this not used in every day language any more? Is it because the Near East is coming closer to the European fold? Armenia is priming itself for EU accession at some stage.

Could be film set? Those Ladas just come in the best colours. They even come pimped up.

The Cascade in Yerevan – the centrepiece of the city. Every capital needs a Cascade but we’re not all qualified to celebrate 50 years of Soviet rule. My book du jour, CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions has come to life out here. 

Have enjoyed the odd bit of light danger on this trip but wouldn’t touch any of this with a bargepole. I think the amusement element would be for the staff’s benefit, not mine. Love the towels planted on the door above.

Mother Armenia: Just beautiful. Built to tower over her stone Stalin counterpart as the ultimate F.U. to the U.S.S.R.

All the old cars are powered by natural gas. You are, by law required to disembark from your vehicle and go to a waiting room whilst it refills. Curious. Combustable! 

National Gallery bling.

The genocide memorial, built 1967. 

Here is not the place to gloss over genocide. It was horrific, the world knew about it and it is established fact that it directly inspired Hitler. Sadly it doesn’t feel like we’ve come that far since 1915.

On a brighter note, let’s chat local craft – this is carpet territory. I came armed with pictures and inspiration, I’ve coveted this runner for donkeys years. But they don’t really get the trend and predictably thought there was a problem with my printer. I don’t think it’d be a ‘brief-em and disappear’ job. It’d require some committed production management in order to get what I want. I’ve kinda been there with various tailors, it doesn’t always pay to attempt to recreate those favourite fancy deconstructed garments! Oxfam always wins.

And to close, some Armenian diaspora trivia here: Cher and Andre Agassi are Armenian. Steve Jobs spoke fluent Armenian. 

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