We arrived at the Adoba Hotel, the Olympics Headquarters, around 6 p.m. It is good to be in Detroit, the D, the motor city, home to Armenians whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents hailed, for the most part, from Kghi, Van, and Sepastia.
It was uplifting to see the Armenian flag flying over the hotel on a perfect August evening. Our bellman, Glenn, said he had been at every Detroit Olympics since they started using the Hyatt in 1980, and even ran into us a few years ago when the Olympics were at the Hyatt O’Hare in Chicago where he just happened to be staying while on a family vacation. Glenn took care of our luggage while we checked-in and hit the welcoming booth.
What to do on a Thursday night? There was the Kickoff Party in the Rooftop Rotunda Ballroom that began at 9 p.m., which means 10:30 or 11 p.m. for the urbane and stylish AYFers of this generation. Coincidently, for AYFers of my generation, that is close to or even past bedtime. Plus, there was to be a DJ and I did not want to show my age by showing up and then complaining that the music was too loud. So, we were back to square one: what to do on a Thursday night?
Last year in DC, we went to a Washington Nationals game. This year in Dearborn, we decided to do what anyone in Dearborn at dinnertime would do: get some kebab. Dearborn has—or at least once had—the distinction of being home to the largest concentration of Arabs outside the Middle East. The largest mosque in North America is next to St. Sarkis Armenian Church, about a mile and a half from our hotel. As a result of this demographic, there are some very good Arab restaurants around here that equal or, most likely, surpass Middle Eastern eateries anywhere else in the country.
We did not go to a restaurant, however. It happened to be Agoump Night at St. Sarkis Armenian Church. Perfect. We weren’t alone in our decision. There were about a hundred people there, half from Detroit and half from out of town. At least half of the out-of-towners had Detroit roots or Detroit relatives. It was a great place to meet, hang out, catch-up, take photos with old friends, and show photos of newlyweds and grandchildren. Someone even was showing photos of their new cat… no, it was not a Van cat.
I spent a lot of my time there with Rick and Steve Panosian. We had a lot of laughs recalling and exaggerating the shenanigans we pulled when we were in the AYF. Grace Kulegian joined in that conversation as well. I talked with her husband John about where we might live in California if we relocated there. We would relocate there because his sons live there as does my daughter. I liked Pasadena and he liked Glendale; both are good choices.
The kebab? It was fabulous. The luleh kebab was simply the best and everyone from out of town was raving about the taste. The Detroitsis? It was standard fare for them.
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