Connections and first-name basis relationships go a long way everywhere.Custom, one-off requests are always an option, and just about anything is negotiable.It’s unlikely, but it’s certainly possible in principle, so you’re always calculating how to avoid risks.Life in Yerevan is blissfully free of this sort of tension.Armenia is not a place in which armed robbery, rape, murder, etc. Even disorderly public drunkenness doesn’t make much of an appearance here.It also doesn’t have the widespread social problems related to drugs, which are an unavoidable staple of life for all but the most exclusively gated bourgeoisie in the US, and many other places in the world, “developed world” and otherwise.I’m actually afraid that I’ve become a bit complacent.(Footnote: This umbrella of safety doesn’t appear to extend to open gays and lesbians, particularly ones participating in demonstrations or pride parades.
I came in early summer 2012 for the first time and loved it. I haven’t seen everything there is to see, but I think I’ve seen enough to have some credibility. – Density and compactness: Yerevan has the rather appealing quality of being large enough to be interesting, but small enough to be manageable and easy to get around. From an Atlantan’s point of view, everything here is very easy.With the exception of particularly orderly Germanic capitals, in most places I’ve been to, you need to watch your ass. If you walk into the wrong bar, you could find yourself in quite a fix (don’t laugh, I got robbed in Buenos Aires this way).Most likely, nothing will happen to you on any given day, but you still learn the unconscious reflexes of looking over your shoulder and being aware of your surroundings. Get into the wrong taxi, you could find yourself at an ATM, cleaning out your checking account at gunpoint.The doctor gives his mobile number and says to call whenever if I have any further questions.I got a [good] root canal, stint and filling (composite, not the cheap, toxic silver amalgam kind they love so much in the US) done for a grand total of US.You can have just about anything delivered to your home.It’s common to be personally acquainted with service personnel (electricians, plumbers, etc.) and officials and just call them up.I wanted to share some more general parting thoughts and observations.I’ve spent most of the last year and a half in Yerevan, with only two very brief visits back to the USA and a two-month stay in Berlin.All this flexibility is just a distant fantasy in the US.It’s common elsewhere in the “developing world”, but I’ve found the Armenian implementation particularly humane and amicable.