Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dilijan, Armenia

If Yerevan is the mind of Armenia, then Dilijan, about 60 miles north of Armenia's capital, is the nation's heart.  This town of 16,000 is a world away from Yerevan.  Old stone and wood houses make for a soothing walk.  Surrounded by Dilijan are square miles after square miles of farms, at which produce including walnuts, stone fruits, pomegranates, and grains are grown--making Armenia a rich center for agriculture.  Some food processing occurs here, and there is a smidgen of services: the Central Bank of Armenia is reported to move many of there operations here by 2013.

Dilijan is a microcosm of what Armenia is now and what it could be:  a balance between the old sectors like agriculture, and services, of which outsourcing could bring jobs to a population that is highly skilled but needs the right opportunities in order to make a decent living.

The following pictures were taken in our 2003 visit.  Enjoy!

A door to Dilijan
An view of Dilijan
The architectural features make Dilijan rich

A chat with some locals
Stone wall with a hint of patina
Street scene, Dilijan

another view of Dilijan

Friday, November 5, 2010

Randolph, Vermont

After visiting Vermont for a Ben & Jerry's event, I have to share my enthusiasm for Vermont.  Vermont represents what many Americans long for and yet what most of us would avoid if the reality was dropped in front of us.  Vermont is gorgeous, especially in the fall, and while I never use this cliched word, let's face it:  this tiny state, once an independent country, is bucolic.

Randolph is one of many picturesque towns throughout Vermont.  The town is home to just under 5,000 people, most of whom are entrepreneurial:  you have got to be if you are going to live in this very rural state.

The town is the meeting area for the local region, and is home to schools, stores, and services.  Its library is noted for its fine local jams (from what I have heard), and is typical of how locals make a living:  you need to know where to find those fine heirloom vegetables, maple syrup, and other local products for which Vermont is famous.  More than a few move to Vermont:  many thrive, others experience a winter and remember why they left Florida.

I'm sharing a few photos of this special town.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

San Jose, Uruguay

San Jose de Mayo is between Montevideo, Uruguay, and Colonia, an old Portuguese town that is a favorite day trip destination for Buenos Aires residents. The town of 36,000 is a regional and commercial center, and is a microcosm of Uruguay: industry such as chemicals and paper are represented, as are dairy, packing houses, and cattle ranching.

The surrounding area is gorgeous for its peacefulness and simplicity. The romanticism of the gaucho may be long gone, but residents of the San Jose de Mayo are still very close to the earth. We happened to traipse through along Uruguay’s Route 1, and enjoyed the farms, ranches, and forests.