Posts Tagged ‘celine’s dispatches’

h1

[Celine’s Dispatches: FAR’s Intern in Armenia]: Living in Barekamoutyoun

August 27, 2009

I live in the neighborhood around Barekamoutyoun (North-west Yerevan). When one of my Armenian friends first told me he knew of an apartment available in this area, I really didn’t know what to expect.  With a myriad of concrete buildings sprouting from the Earth, this district does not look appealing from the outside. Yet, within the masses of construction, one finds a very happy Armenian community.

When you think you’ve reached the end of a street in Barekamoutyoun, there’s usually a small passage that leads you to a quiet area, sort of a city in the city, if you will.  And you forget that you’re in Yerevan: people beat their wool, children play soccer, elderly play backgammon and street vendors display their colorful array of fruits.

Foreigners draw distinct glances from locals, but I know that this is more out of curiosity than anything else.  “Why would a foreigner come here?” they wonder.  When you approach a local in Barekamoutyoun, his or her face brightens.  For example, one street vendor lets out a childlike laugh every time I stop by his stand because he has to teach me the Armenian words for each type of fruit or vegetable.

No, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

– Celine

View from my window: Nighttime in Barekamoutyoun

DSC_0116

Credit : Celine Kaladjian

h1

[Celine’s Dispatches: FAR’s Intern in Armenia]: Negotiations 101

August 13, 2009

On Sundays, Vernissage is the place to be in Yerevan. This open-air flea market offers anything and everything you might be looking for – from unrecognizable pieces of machinery to touristy Armenia T-shirts – there is really something for everyone!

In this bazaar, negotiating becomes a sport. A vendor will never reveal the actual price he or she hopes to receive for an item, because the negotiation is an integral part of the sale process. Armenians certainly do have some business savvy running in their veins!

The treasures found at Vernissage very much remind me of my childhood: my grandpa used to restore anything he could find. On Sundays, we would go to the flea market in Marseille to sell the items he had just brought to life again.  This weekend ritual was less about making money and more about my grandfather’s feeling of satisfaction.  However as I child, I was happy because the money earned always ended up in my savings.

– Celine

Photography Paraphernalia Seller in Vernissage

salesman

Credit : Celine Kaladjian