Artifacts 2: Rain Jacket

I thought about sharing some of the lessons learned from our travels. One direction on this path involves what we carry. This is a theme I have touched on before.  It is interesting to me to experience how the artifacts both physical and electronic define the modern self and its relationship to its environment. No tips and tricks here except to keep experimenting and be observant.

Our rain jackets are essential for any trip. Beyond keeping dry and warm, they offer freedom to explore even during bad weather.  This has led us to many interesting discoveries and appreciations of the neighborhoods we visit.

My simple jacket folds itself neatly into a zippered pouch which I store in an outside compartment of my bag for easy access (see below). Sometimes, it stays stowed for a month. Here I remember Malta, Kuala Lumpur and Cape Town.  At the other extreme, I wore it every day in Vancouver.

 

 

 

My photos provide more of a documentary experience than an artistic one. Over the past seventeen years, this raincoat became a central theme of my travels and showed up in way too many photos.

RainCoat1

 

 

What happened to Barcelona?

A number of viewers of my blog comment how much they like Barcelona.  We traveled from Malta to Panama, but there is no direct flight.  In our plans we found that the best airfare involved a stopover in Barcelona with two full days to explore.  Clearly not enough time, but tried to make the most of it.  We were slowed due to train strikes and other complications.  All in all it was a very interesting two days.  Here are some of the impressions I have.

Day 1

 

Day 2

Here is a link to the Yerevan, Armenia page for another work by the sculptor of cats.

Yerevan Walk

We only spent a few days in Yerevan, Armenia.  They were warm enough with temps between five and ten centigrade ( 40° – 50° F) although temperatures fell below freezing at night.  We stayed in a communist era building.  It was updated with an elevator but still kept the feel of lots of cement.  Our refurbished apartment was very convenient, well-designed, and warm.  All of these old buildings have passage ways into the inner courtyard.  In the past years art students have been painting these passages with wonderful designs.  Apparently these are the youth like these as much as I like them as we saw little grafitti.

I try out the WordPress for iPad that allows more editing of pictures without the need to know extensive html language.



Our Building


Our building, right side

Along the way

We walked all over.  Here are a few photos that give an impression of our stay.  There are lots of angles to see and some interesting alternative spaces such as AEON, the anti coffee house.  Below we found our way up the Cascades and the sculpture garden.



Skyline from the top of the cascades





Swarovski New Ideas in Chandeliers



I can’t resist a cat pic

Misgivings: from Tbilisi to Yerevan by minibus

I checked the weather maps, trip advisor, and other Internet resources for info on our trip from Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia to Yerevan, Armenia.  The weather should be warmer, drier, and a minibus called marshrutka would get us there quicker.

It was drizzling when the taxi dropped us at the Ortachala bus station. After waiting over an hour for enough riders, the driver headed out with fourteen passengers, a box of cucumbers, a box of tomatoes, two cartons of milk chocolate, suitcases, bags, and plastic sacks.

EPEBAN - Yerevan in Russian (the common language between Georgia and Armenia)
EPEBAN – Yerevan in Russian (the common language between Georgia and Armenia)
12 Women, 2 Guys, 6 hours
12 Women, 2 Guys, 6 hours

My wife sat beside me and the other guy, a Greek, from Alexandroupolis. We know that city as it was where we boarded another bus in the rain to travel to Istanbul (see Appointment In Istanbul).

Passport control was pretty simple and after a toilet / cigarette break we were on our way again.  The road was a two way highway that was the bumpiest so far. Very hard to take photos from the back of the van. We had a lunch stop about the halfway point of the trip, some thirty kilometers inside Armenia.  The mountain air was brisk but revealed snow topped mountains behind majestic cliffs.

Rustic beauty after crossing into Armenia
Rustic beauty after crossing into Armenia

Another hour down the road and everything changes to snow, snow, and deeper snow. I read about a storm that hit Eastern Turkey some days before. It must have continued on over Mount Ararat and into Armenia. Looking at the snow piled at the side of the roads, it must have been really treacherous those days.

We continued on through the snowy surroundings.  I was wondering what we would find in Yerevan.  Would it be caked and icy like we found in Erzurum? From my google map I could see we were getting pretty close to our destination and it was still snow everywhere, even some drifting.

Deep snow at the side of the road.
Deep snow at the side of the road.

As we came over one hill, there appeared halfway down the valley a snow line. Just as if it were drawn with a felt tip pen. On one side was white snow, on the other brown prairie. After dropping some of the passengers along the way, we ended our trip at the Kilikia Bus Terminal. We negotiated with a taxi driver to stop at a money exchange and then into the city to Sakharov square.

A friendly welcome as we waited for our host.
A friendly welcome as we waited for our host.

While waiting there, a cat came along and climbed the tree next to us.