Green Beer in Armenia

One of my favorite things about Peace Corps is the other crazy people you meet along the way. Some of these are HCNs (host country nationals) but a lot of them are fellow Americans doing the same thing as you. The PC crowd also does a great job of marking our own culture’s holidays. That’s important because it makes you feel connected to home, makes you realize how awesome your own culture is, and serves as a morale boost.

So, I wasn’t going to miss St. Patrick’s Day in Sevan (although I was a bit whiney about the travel). Normally I don’t really care at all about St. Pat’s. It seems like a day for bars to turn a huge profit for no reason. People wear green and get wasted. Okay cool. Then again, I’m not Irish. But, it offers a great excuse to get together with your friends and celebrate something together.

We were received like kings. Wonderful smells wafted from the kitchen. Soon a soda bread was produced. And then another. And then a delicious dinner of brisket (not an everyday find here), cabbage, and boiled potatoes came. My mouth still waters at the thought of this meal come to pass. Finally, there was the cake. It was homemade with butter cream frosting. It was easily the best cake I’ve eaten in Armenia by a long shot. Perhaps that’s because destined to be a stale Armenian cake with nasty cream frosting and glitter all over it. Armenians get pastries right but for some reason have not mastered the art of the cake.

The cake was even more magical because it was rainbow cake! They claimed it was easy to make but I beg to differ. It was as impressive as it was delicious.

I would be impressed in America. Here, I'm speechless.

The rest of the night was spent drinking beers and doing fortune telling stuff. I got my palm read, tarot cards read, and my matches read. What is a match reading? Someone learned it from their Armenian tutor. You take two matches, stick them out of a matchbox so they are parallel, and simultaneously light them. One is you and one is someone else you are into. The matches burn down, twisting and contorting along the way. At the end the direction of the matches tells the fortune. If the matches lean in towards each other, it’s true love. But more often than not one match leans in and the other leans out. In rare cases both lean out, signifying an absolutely repulsive relationship I suppose.

This gathering was a great get together. We even rolled the equivalent of a Yahtzee on the way home. To avoid having to backtrack an hour plus into Yerevan in order to catch our marshrutka, we waited on the side of the highway. While a local taxi driver’s persuasions to hire him devolved into him digging up English phrases from his Soviet education 40 years ago, the Vardenis marshrutka came charging in. It stopped, and by the luck of the Irish it somehow still had its 3 stools empty. Happy and tired, we smashed ourselves in for the ride home. It was a great last weekend of (calendar) winter.

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One Response to “Green Beer in Armenia”

  1. Gail Says:

    I want to know how to make the rainbow in the cake!

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