Yeghegnadzor, Armenia

I am in the backseat of a Soviet-era Lada sedan on a winding road in southern Armenia near the town of Yeghegnadzor. My wife, Anna, is in the front seat speaking Russian with our taxi driver, Levon. He is short, no more than five-feet-six, with graying hair and arms too long for his thick torso. He is a man of many mottoes who, like most Armenians, prides himself on hospitality. “I drive like an adult,” he tells Anna after another taxi with blacked-out windows screams by us around a curve. We’ve learned that Levon worked in Moscow as a taxi driver and now is in retirement, yet obviously he is still driving. “In Armenia we have everything,” he says with certainty. “But we do not have money.” This is not the first time we have heard this sentiment in Armenia. Everything—except not everything.

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