July 4, 2006

“Don’t get shot”

caucasus_map.gif

I’ve had two people tell me this in the past week…and these are friends of mine who studied the region at LSE. Comrades, be reasonable! I’m not looking to grab an AK-47 and hop into one of the various post-Soviet conflicts plaguing the region, I just want some homemade Georgian khachapuri and Armenian cognac. Besides, they are all under cease-fire agreements…right?

“Intermittent armed clashes” aside, I’m really looking forward to this trip, for a variety of reasons. My friend Liz (from GW) is a foreign service officer at the U.S. embassy in Yerevan, and Taline (from LSE) heads the NDI program over there. My roommate, Laura, also a friend of Liz’s, is coming along, and Crystal (LSE) is flying out from San Francisco.

So, here is our itinerary, which, of course is subject to change given the nature of traveling in the Former Soviet Union:

caucasus_map.gif

July 4: Leave DC
July 5: Arrive in London, the greatest city in the world. Seven hour layover, then depart for Armenia.
Arrive in Yerevan at night.

July 6 and 7th: Yerevan, Armenia

July 8: Drive to Tbilisi, Georgia

Overnight in Tbilsi

July 9: Tbilisi (perhaps stop by Misha’s office to sing the GW fight song together)

Overnight in Tbilisi

July 10: Fly to Baku, Azerbaijan

Overnight in Baku

July 11: Spend a day at one of the lovely beaches of Baku

az_beach.jpg

Overnight in Baku

July 12: Fly to Tbilisi, drive back to Yerevan (yes, it would be lovely to fly directly to Yerevan from Baku, but the two countries HATE HATE HATE each other and there are no flights between the respective capitals)

July 11-14: Armenia

July 15: Depart Armenia, seven hour layover in London (anyone up for a pint?), unfortunately back to Dullsville, aka the District of Columbia

Ethnic conflicts, low-grade civil wars, massive environmental pollution, landmines, intermittent electricity, and political repression. Sounds like a place you’d love to vacation in, no?