It happens rarely but it happens sometimes that you get to a hostel and the timing is right to just meet people that you click with immediately. In Yerevan, I had such an experience. I felt reminded of my student time when we would sit by the kitchen table, cook together, and talk a lot of nonsense.
Yerevan is situated quite well in that it is very easy to undertake day trips from there. I decided to do them not organized but simply by public transport. First of all that is much cheaper – you get from one end of the city to the very other end of the rather extended city for 20 €-cent. Secondly, it is a little more adventurous since you have to sort out a bus schedule in the Armenian alphabet that is yet again different from Cyrillic and Georgian alphabet. And thirdly you get to watch the locals and how they go about things.
I did observe however that a statistical anomaly occurred when I was taking buses. Usually, a bus with a certain number can go in two distinct directions. A 50/50 chance to pick the right bus, which I failed to do 100% of the time. But then again, it is cheap, I had enough time, and the weather was brilliant. I took it with a laugh (mostly). It is also interesting how helpful people were. They always manage to be helpful without the slightest sign of emotion, especially no smile. Sometimes there is a fleeting hint of a smile in the end. I assume that to be one of the many small cultural differences.
An elderly lady sitting next to me on a minibus realized that I was not quite sure what I was doing. So she called the daughter of a friend and pressed the mobile phone onto my ear. The lady on the phone spoke English quite well, and so she could explain the whole procedure of changing buses, prices, and where to walk at the destination to me. The elderly lady then opened facebook and showed me pictures of “Katarina”. After every picture, she looked at me with a facial expression that I can only interpret as the visual confirmation that I was being paired with someone. I did indeed ask Katarina if she wanted to meet for a drink, but time did not permit in the end.
I had taken the night train to Yerevan and also took the night train back. The old Soviet-style carriages certainly lacked in comfort but not in nostalgic charm. There is something comforting about the shaking and rattling of the carriages on the terrible tracks in Armenia. I slept like a baby and wondered if that was because it resembled (probably, not that I remember) the shaking of the stroller we laid in as babies? Whatever it was, it worked well for me. Back in Georgia, I made my way to the wine region, where I now sit while I write this. But more about that another day.