Walking along the top of the plateau (previous post) I pass donkeys loaded with firewood. Short men with sticks keep them moving, as though the last two thousand years didn’t happen.
I am still about 4km from Dsegh. Apple trees with tiny gnarled apples line the road. The cool clear air, the height, the trees remind me of the road to the Hunza Valley in the Hindu Kush. Fields of horses on the right.
Dsegh turns out to be a very pleasant high plateau farming community. Women in coarse dresses and head scarves carry buckets of stuff along the lanes, and stop to chat:
Even in winter this place is fruit trees, stone houses, horses, cows, goats, chickens, and chubby pink pigs:
I walk through Dsegh to the edge of a steep canyon and then down the side to the ruins of the 8th Century Surp Grigor Barzdzrakash Monastery. The stones now covered in moss, the whole area a thick carpet of leaves. It still seems a holy place:
Red leaves, white light, stone Khachkars from the dark ages, asking for the salvation of the dead:
On the walk back to Dsegh I help a woman carrying sacks of stuff to town. Even the half I took was heavy. No wonder Armenian women have a reputation as the working member of the family. Unlike neighbouring Turkey there is no Bride Price  in Armenia, but for a women like this there ought to be.
Walked 17km today. Lunched on bread and ‘tan’ (a whey drink).
I took a ride down the mountain to preserve my toes. The driver couldn’t drive and feared not death. A bad combination, especially in a rust-ridden Lada. Most Armenians are devout, and drive like they are ready to meet their maker at any time. I am not ready, and I doubt my maker is all that keen to see me again either.
Which is why I usually walk.
(events 30 Nov 2012)
In some societies it means that after marriage the man is going to sit around and do nothing, letting his wife do all the work.
Bride Price (like the custom of men sitting around doing nothing) has been around a while. The Code of Hammurabi (1772 BC) regulated it and included provisions under which the man was entitled to a refund.
(That last picture of the husband getting his money’s worth isn’t mine, it was passed around the web many years ago, but if anyone knows who to attribute this to, let me know. I would like to shake his hand.)