7-22-98 12:45 a.m. (A never-sent letter to my sister)
I'm sitting outside my dorm enjoying the fact that it is only 80 degrees, not in the high 90's. I'm watching a man and woman selling fruit to my left, ugly Russian cars drive by, a little kiosk across the street that sells Blue Box Camel Lights for 350 dram and a million people walking on the sidewalk staring at me smoking and wearing shorts and a tee-shirt and writing left-handed. Amir, this Persian guy that lives downstairs is also looking at me from inside the dorm. A woman is approaching me and I think she's going to ask for money. This place is so surreal as Ani puts it. A man is right now explaining to his daughter that I'm an American. Being here is like being in the States sometimes in 1998, sometimes 1950, sometimes 1920 and sometimes 1890. It's such a strange mosaic of time periods. Coca-Cola and Marlboro signs litter the city's walls, umbrellas, tee-shirts, bars and more. Of course it seems that only foreigners smoke Marlboros here- they're pretty expensive. Everyone drinks Coke though. The only pop here is Coke, Sprite and Fanta. I drink one of those three ten times a day. I'm beginning to hate America. Why do Coke and Marlboro need to come in and ruin the chance for any local company to make their own way in the economy? The other night after seeing a movie (Georgian with Armenian dubbing and French sub-titles) Sevan, Saeed and I went to a café/bar. The biggest asshole Americans were there. We talked to them for a while. The come here to basically laugh at the Armenians and live very cheaply. They can't even say no or yes and they've been here on and off for three years! Their interpreter was sick and I had to order their beer for them. They talked about how stupid people are here for not speaking English, eating strange food, etc. basically living in a culture different from our own. It made me hate America. In Armenian I called them rude and stupid. I thought that was rather amusing.
1:45 p.m.
I just ate lunch and did e-mail at AUA. I'm sitting outside and all these old men are staring at me. Strange- since this is an American University. It get in here you need to have a really high TOFEL score. This implies that everyone here speaks pretty good English. There are signs up that say the following: Apartments for lease 1 room for sleep, 1 room for bath, 1 room for cook. Very much warm and cold. $150 for 1 month. Thanks you. In Armenian you don't pluralize the noun when you have a number in front of it (i.e. five girls) here you would say five girl. So in the cafeteria it says: 1 piece of bread 50 dram, 2 piece 100 dram, etc. people talk like that too.