Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Letter 09: Yerevan weekend

September 2002
Thursday night I went to Esfira's home in Bangladesh. Her door was coming off the hinges so I tried to fix it with longer screws, like I did 24 years ago to our front door. On the way, walking at night to look for screws, she asked: Aren't you going to ask me why I moved here. I responded to the effect, if she wanted to tell me I'd listen: She said two weeks ago, her husband's sister showed-up and said to her: this is our house, please move-out. Her husband kepts islent, so she called a taxi, packed-up her stuff and moved-out with her sister and daughter to their Bangladesh appartment (10th floor, relatively clean).

So they wanted to talk about a loan to her sister's shop-owner, a dentist not finding a job, running a pharmacy, on the back of which he gave her a room for a beauty salon. I took Rhoda there (haircut 1500, pedicure 3500). But it was impossible to tell from the street there is a beauty salon. So that's when I suggested they should have a better sign....

On Friday I got invitation tickets to the National Chamber orchestra. I took Leyla's dad with me. It was fantastic. The second half was Dvorjak. Ihad warned the young violinist I would not stay till the end because I had promised Tamar Haytayan I would go to her house warming. I had trouble pulling myself-out. So I told Leyla's dad to go back-stage and invite her for dinner at our place... But he was too shy to go.

So I went a bit late to Tamar's appartment. It is 2 streets up from AUA. Old building but clean entrance (no garbage suit). I think she has one of the best appartments. She pays 120, constant hot & cold water, 4th floor, no elevator. Bedroom like ours, 2 hallways like ours, living room smaller, but additional covered balcony makes it equal. equipped kitchen. Her landlady phoned her last week to see if she needed more blankets. The usual crowd had showed-up. She put Narineh's oriental music on. I refused to dance till she put Armenian music. But she had a great spread of food and lots. I pigged-out, and the next day she brought me some delicious left-overs. We had a big rain-thunderstorm during the party, and the next morning the haze had left Ararat and I took some great pictures. Actually Leyla's dad was supposed to take the bus to Echmiadzin and I found he had to be at Mashtots and Pushkin at 9:45. Leyla called from Becky’s apartment to say that the view of Ararat was great. So I rushed him and we took the elevator to our roof. It was locked. So I rushed him over to Mashtots. On the way back I stopped at Irina’s apartment, took the elevator to the top. It was locked again. The lady on the last floor was outside, she said: can I help you. I said I was new here and heard that the Ararat view was good today and wanted to take photos. She said: I have a key. So she brought it for me, said not to loose it, and proceded to send her 2 daughters to help me out (pose). They were University kids and paused for me and took my photo too (I’ll post it when I can download) (Incidentally you should look at photos.yahoo.com/meghr1981 and photos.yahoo.com/meghr 1965 for some recent photos of me).

This time Makour Yerevan was at 1:00 p.m.. They took us to “Monument park” which is the victory park, near the Mayr-Hayastan statue with the sword (used to be Stalin’s statue). The usual crowd was there, but Gore showed-up with Mher and they played under the statue, with no loud speakers for the crowd. They sounded so much better (Jason accompanied). When I got back to the office, there was an email from the violinist hoping I enjoyed the Gharabekian concert (Gharabekian is originally from Iran but had been living in Boston when he was recruited to head the Chamber orchestra). I was embarassed, so I invited her for dinner Sunday night.

On Sunday morning we had the brunch for Narineh Gharashor’s housewarming. She had asked me to bring her some of the small chairs and some small plates. So I went ahead to the little flower guy near our office and he offered me two huge bunches of fresh white fleurs de Lys for 800 drams, and threw-in a bunch of carnations. So I carried them over to her apartment, clean and put them in vases for her before guests arrived then went back home, changed and came back with chairs and plates. 20 people came, it was very pleasant. She pays 100$ / month but she redecorated the place at her own expense and installed new water reservoirs hot and cold. It was really nice and cozy. One of the apartment owners had redecorated the whole entrance and stairways, and installed a door security buzzer system for all apartments (because in the last 2 years night-club patrons had been known to relieve themselves inside their entrance after midnight). So now it is all bright and clean.

After brunch the Meneshians came to see my place. They are very nice and happy to be here. Then Tamar came and borrowed my video camera. Then I did some cleaning then I went for supper with this young violinist. We went first for fruit juices at the outdoor cafe near the linguistics institute, then we walked to “Charlie” ( the place next to my stooge’s cafe, because the piano player is her original music teacher from childhood. She is a marvelous young lady, and Gharabekian has taken them on tours to LA, Boston, London, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon and Paris. They are preparing to go to Germany soon. So I’ll be getting some more invitations for their concert season (so the sooner you get here, the better).

I just went to buy tickets for Ararat’s only presentation with the original soundtrack, this Thursday at 9:30.
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