Thursday, September 19, 2013

cows, crosses, Ladas

It might be a little hard to see, but this cow has a cross on a chain draped over her horns.

There are three things in abundance in the Caucasus - monasteries, cows standing right in the road, and Ladas. I think there were more Ladas in Armenia than Georgia, but that's beside the point. Someone had a theory that the cows stand in the road so the passing cars will whisk away all the flies. They really couldn't care less about the cars. Most of the time they don't bother moving, causing everyone to honk (it doesn't make a difference) and swerve around them. And when they do move, it's never quickly; they just lumber off in their own sweet time.

I returned to Georgia from Stepanavan, Armenia. The bus station is right next to a roundabout, and as I was waiting for the marshrutka to leave, I watched a farmer herd a bull, a cow, and a calf down the street, going against traffic. They went through the roundabout, and started up another road, still going against traffic, but slowly heading into the other lane. A Lada Niva 1600 4x4* was coming down the road a little too quickly, and put on the brakes sorta late, resulting in a fast approach to our bovine family. Too fast. For just one second, the bull charged the Lada. In one smooth move, he turned left, lowered his head, and took a couple of quick steps right towards the car. And then it was over. The car slowed, the bull evidently decided it was no longer worth his time, and the family continued across the street. Hard to say what would have resulted, had the charge continued. Judging by the state of many of the Ladas chugging down the roads here, they are built to take a substantial amount of abuse. Some might think their longevity may have something to do with the amount of religious images and crosses that adorn many a dashboard. I'm not inclined to believe this, but I am pleased that at least some of the cows are similarly arrayed.

* I really sort of covet one of these now. They have two of the attributes I respect the most - functionality combined with a completely outdated style.

No comments: