I slept in a little late today and finally got out of bed after 10:00. I then got ready, grabbed my camera, and walked outside. Then, instead of doing the intelligent thing and forking up the dough for a taxi, I decided to walk south, for about one hundred minutes, to Erebuni Fortress (admittedly, this was idiotic since my feet were still hurting from having hiked the Jesus Trail and having slipped and sloshed around in Jerusalem when there had been snow and pools of water covering the streets). I followed the roads to Erebuni fortress, passing by automotive mechanic shop after automotive mechanic shop (they were present, one after the other, for over a mile – evidently they do as most of Asia does here in Armenia, where they have all the same shops consolidated in one area as opposed to spreading them out evenly throughout the city (for example: in the Middle East where you have the carpet souq, the gold souq, etc.; or in China and Taiwan, where you have the medicinal shops down the same alley, spice shops down another alley, etc.) – I suppose this makes comparing prices easier. Anyway, I eventually reached Erebuni Fortress and entered inside the museum below the hill where the fortress stands; inside the museum were a number of artifacts, such as stone tablets with engraved cuneiform script, pottery, and drinking cups. After touring the small museum, I followed the path up to Erebuni Fortress. Erebuni was an Urartian city-fortress built along the northern Urartu state border in present-day Yerevan; the name “Yerevan” is believed to be derived from the word “Erebuni.” Erebuni was founded in 782 BC by King Argishti I and was built atop the hill called Arin Berd, strategically overlooking the Arax River Valley. Kings Sardur II and Rusa I used Erebuni as a base of operations for their campaigns of conquest against the north; however, constant warfare exhausted the Urartu Kingdom and in the late seventh-century BC the kingdom collapsed. The region then fell under the control of the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire. Once at the top of Arin Berd, I walked around the outer walls of Erebuni Fortress before coming to the outer-portico post and then the main entrance. After entering inside the archaeological site (which, sadly, has suffered much damage by vandals), I explored the ruins of the temple precinct (with its Temple of Khaldi), the palace precinct, and, finally, the servants’ quarters. Also, while at the top of the hill, I enjoyed grand views of Yerevan and the distant snow-capped mountains (including Mount Ararat). After thoroughly exploring the fortress ruins, I walked back down the hill, to the street, and then – idiotically – I walked all the way to downtown Yerevan. On the way to Republic Square, I passed by more spring-fed drinking fountains (they’re everywhere in this city), past a police station that had about five patrol cars that were each a different model vehicle (I guess they take what they can get without regard to uniformity), and a section of street with many butcher shops, one after the other (once again, following the Asian way). I then reached Republic Square, walked past the National Gallery and History Museum (I contemplated going in, but I was hungry and tired – from unnecessary walking), and past some interesting sculptures. I then walked on many of the same streets I walked on yesterday, passing many of the familiar sites. I wandered around for far too long, trying to find a restaurant that suited my current tastes (I was hoping for an Irish or English pub/restaurant). Finally, I found a place that had “beer” in its title and that was open. I went inside and had a plate of sausages (some were wrapped in bacon, others had cheese stuffed inside, and others were more like breakfast sausages), French fries, and – of course – beer. After lunch, I stopped at a convenience store and bought a bottle of Armenian wine, some beer, and some chocolate. I then returned to the hostel, got to work on my laptop (going through the photos I took today and on updating the website), and drank the bottle of wine I had just bought, enjoying it with the bar of chocolate I had just purchased as well. The Armenian wine was a dry red wine produced from Areni grapes and aged in oak barrels; it tasted fruity and earthy, though overall, it lacked character and was disappointing (actually, much of the Armenian wine I had tried was disappointing and not at all like the Georgian wine I had had and enjoyed quite a bit; I found this strange since the countries are right next to each other and so similar; I guess the Lesser Caucasus Mountains and the terrain in Armenia makes quite a difference . . . unless it’s a cultural preference for a certain distinctive taste). After finishing the bottle of wine, the Russian woman and the Chinese woman sharing the same dormitory room with me asked me if I was interested in accompanying them to a night club; since the bottle hadn’t affected my mind too much and I felt sober enough, I said “yes” and got ready. Once ready, we walked outside and took a taxi to a nearby night club. The club we ended up at was in a building with three floors, each with a different club and a different atmosphere: the top level resembled a middle school dance and even had children present; the ground level was like a café with tables and silence, allowing the costumers to be able to hold a conversation with one another; the subterranean level – which is where the club we were going to was located – had a central stage with lip-synching singers and dancers, and was more like a club with its dark lighting, active fog machine, and deafeningly loud music (the music inside was far too loud and the unacceptable noise levels became all to evident when I exited the club later on to use the W.C.). Upon entering, the three of us were shown to a table and we each ordered drinks (I had a Manhattan that was okay). For the most part, the performers on stage were uninteresting; although, there was one dance that involved three men and three women that began with a remix of ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ (the song Elvis used as his intro during his later years – inspired by ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’), where the men each brought out large suitcases that contained the lady dancers, and then moved in to a remix of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, where the ladies popped out of the suitcases and they performed some swing-style dancing with the men. Later on, after finishing my Manhattan, I had a Mojito, which tasted refreshingly excellent. Finally, after midnight, we decided to leave the club. We received the bill and discovered a 5,000 Armenian dram (about ten USD) fee added on to it; after inquiring what this extra fee was for, we learned that it was the entrance fee for me; apparently ladies get in for free, but men have to pay this hidden entrance fee; I refused to pay for an entrance fee that I was not made aware of and that was not collected at the front door (like most clubs in this world will do); so, I advised the women that we should pay for our drinks, the service charge (something we were also not informed of), and then walk away, not giving in to this sort of unscrupulous, criminal activity; unfortunately, we all stayed seated at the table; I then asked for the manager and tried explaining to him the best I could why we should not have to pay and how he should run his business in the future; he kept pointing to the bill, showing me that the fee is written on it and we should pay whatever the bill states; luckily, the Russian woman came over and spoke to the manager in Russian (a language he understands, as opposed to the English I was using) and finally he relinquished and dropped the hidden fee; he then wished us well and shook my hand – I can only imagine that he must’ve feared the possible repercussions that forcing this issue may have had on his club (i.e. poor Tripadvisor reviews and word-of-mouth). We then exited the club around 01:00, got a taxi, and returned to the hostel. Honestly, I don’t know why I bother even going to clubs anymore; they are all way too loud, to the point where it discourages people from having conversations and actually getting to know each other, and they are way too expensive; in my experience, better times are had at someone’s house with friends, a fine selection of drinks, and our choice of music; we can then talk with each other without having to yell in each other’s ears, we can mix our drinks to our liking and not receive some poorly-made and watered-down rubbish, and we can relax in an environment free from crowds and obnoxious people who have had too much to drink – *sigh* I suppose it’s the “fear of missing out” that brings me coming back to these clubs. Oh well. Once back at the hostel, I had a bottle of beer as a nightcap and stayed up until about 03:00 before going to sleep.