Armenia Dispatch: 10 – Varnissage Market

Man I had an unrelenting day yesterday. Exhausting. But it was immensely interesting, and very productive. I would have written this last night but I was simply too wiped out to sit down and get it done, so I crashed instead and got the first night of solid sleep in a while. I’m going to break the day into a couple of dispatches, so here’s the first.

It was a working day for me, trying to get together interviews and doing a bunch of shooting for a couple of travel projects I’m working on. In the morning, after a cup of strong, thick, gravy-like Armenian coffee, I headed with an Armenian-American friend named Dork to the local outdoor market called the Vernissage, which only taken place in full force on the weekends. The days so far here in Yerevan have been beautiful. About 75-80 degrees, perfect sunshine, and yesterday was no exception. And so we strolled around the market, looking at all manner of crafts and junk that people sell there. I was shooting pictures, and really enjoying the vibe of the market. This place is an undiscovered gold-mine for E-bay sellers. There are all sorts of things being sold here from old auto-parts and machine parts to lovely hand-made table cloths and blankets. Every cool foreign place I’ve ever been in the world has a thriving local market where all the people come and sell things. Markets are the best place, oftentimes, to see what the people are about, to savor the culture of a place through the work and products people put on display. The Vernissage market is where that happens in Yerevan. While it may happen soon as Armenia, and Yerevan specifically, get more popular (and I’ve telling you, this place IS getting popular, and will be very different in five years) the stuff sold at the market is not yet the kind of tourist crap you find on some other city markets. And that’s very cool, I think. Anyway, I’ll post a picture of the market and you can get an idea of what it’s like. I bought a couple of nice hand-made table cloths which I’ll probably give out at gifts.