Near the former ‘Tokhmakhan Gyol’, at the foot of Sari Tagh, two types of salt lakes are located. October is the month, when the lake is visited by already loyal visitors and the guests, who have arrived in Armenia and regularly receive joint pain treatment here.
When I first visited the lake, I had an extensive topic, connected with salt for a photo story and a clear aim of making it definite. French-Armenian guests hurried to explain to me the difference between the two lakes: one of them has a salinity of 13 percent, where it’s easier to swim, and the other one has a higher level of salinity – 25 percent. On that day I was also informed that the rocks were illustrated by an architect named Sedrak, who lived in Sari Tagh. Lastly, they added that a naked woman often swam in the lake with the salinity of 25 percent.
It was during my next visit that I got acquainted with Hasmik. At first, she didn’t want me to take a picture of her, claiming that I was wasting my time, doing a pointless job, so long as I had nothing novel to say or to do about the lake. A bit later she changed her mind and invited me to hear her judgment about the lake. Events developed in such a way that Davit, another visitor of the lake, also joined us and started an enthusiastic conversation with Hasmik about the lake and the salt. Then we exchanged phone numbers and said goodbye to each other, hoping to meet again at the lake. We never saw Davit again.
In the following days, I was already entangled in three topics, and I had to make a choice and clarify which one of them would be prevalent – the lake, the salt or Hasmik. After a lot of hesitation, I called Hasmik, listened to her lengthy lecture on the benefits and harms of salt, which was sometimes interrupted by Plato’s quotes, after which we decided to meet at her temporary house, with the aim of visiting the lake.
At Hasmik’s place, I got acquainted with her friend Tigran, her dog Alexandre and their old friend Gevorg, who visited the lake for treatment purposes. Tigran immediately confessed that I could be the best opportunity to update pictures on his Facebook profile.
Then they took their brightest red swimsuits and we hurried to the lake together. At 2 pm, the sun would fall on the rock, which was illustrated by Sedrak and on which Hasmik used to lay down after her salt baths, enjoying the sun’s heat. On that very day it turned out that Hasmik had a clear schedule, calculated in minutes, for entering the lake, staying in it, and leaving, for different weather conditions and at different times of the day.
During our next visits Alexandre was growing bigger and bigger, Tigran was updating pictures with various backgrounds on his Facebook account, and more details about Hasmik’s visit to the lake for 35 years were revealed in new episodes. And the older Hasmik became, the smaller the lake got, and the less salty the lake got, the saltier Hasmik seemed.