Sunday, 13 January 2008

Weather, or 'Weather'

Yerevan diaries

When I arrived in Yerevan (few days before ‘Western’ Christmas), the weather was as perfect as it could be for Yerevan winter – sunny, 2-4C or so (above or below zero), very freshening. With no snow. And it was great for a while, although some people complained that it was not a proper winter, not because of temperature but because of no-snow situation.

Even during rare years when there was no snow before New Year, I remember we always wanted for snow to come at least over New Year night. That’s way the New Year atmosphere looks magical and very appropriate for midnight bells announcing the change of years. And it was truly magical when it started snowing in Yerevan on 31st. Living in London for past few years made me miss snow enormously. I mean proper snow, not an imitation of it which very rarely could be seen in London and immediately grab BBC headlines.

So imagine my delight when it started snowing. Over the next few days, along with New Year festivities, parties etc., I was wandering along my favourite downtown Yerevan streets, which were under snow - and I was under pretty heavy snow too, completely wet - but I could not care less of wetness, was just enjoying the moment.

Then, towards Armenian Christmas (6 Jan), the temperature outside went gradually down and it was becoming increasingly cold outside… I am back in London now, it’s mild here, as usual, rainy winter… I know it’s very cold right now in Yerevan, at times – 20C (minus) and more; and it’s not pleasant to go outside. Even inside apartments available gas or electric heating systems do not provide for adequate warmth under such weather conditions. The similar situation would cause emergency in London, everything will stop functioning, but life continues (almost) as usual in my favourite Yerevan, and warmness and closeness of human relationships helps, the factor which is partly missing in my favourite London, where at times very cold, indeed… and it’s not the weather I am referring to here.

My holidays back home in Yerevan went as perfect as I could wish for, probably the best New Year break in years… I will share my reflections of Yerevan, my ‘discoveries’ via brief diaries, which I will post in coming days/weeks here and in my second blog Unzipped: Gay Armenia, depending on topic. It will be something positive, I hope. Well, more positive than negative for sure, may be because I was in such a positive mood, or may be I just wanted to find or to see as much positive as possible. After all, I love Yerevan, I love Armenia, and even when I criticize or cannot stand various aspects of it, it’s only because I am not indifferent, because I want my city/country to evolve and become better, because I want Armenia to become a country where anyone (Armenian or non-Armenian) would love to live or work (make business) or spend vacation and have fun…

Today marks 13 January - 'Old New Year’, which ends two-week festive period for Armenia and ex-Soviet countries. There will be one last New Year party for 2008, one last toast for New Year, there will be the last day of celebrations in Republic sq in Yerevan, there will be increasingly popular “Russian Winter Festival” in Trafalgar sq in London. Happy New Year again! Back to reality…

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