FOREIGN FLEA MARKET FUN

by missfootloose on June 11, 2010 · 2 comments

in And So It Goes, Armenia, Expat life, shopping

Miss Footloose needs distraction, so let’s go shopping in Armenia, a small country hidden in the beautiful Caucasus Mountains. The capital of Yerevan boasts a fabulous flea market, classily named the Vernissage. You may remember visiting there in an earlier post.

The Vernissage is truly a treasure trove of bits and pieces, a cornucopia of junk from times past and times present. It offers a profusion of thingamajigs and thingamabobs, from frightening ancient lab equipment to atrocious new artwork. And yes, lots of lovely things too — cheery carpets, pretty jewelry, fun arts and crafts, puppies with bows on their heads.

***

Three salt ladies in a row

Salt ladies are, you guessed it, salt cellars. They come in different styles and artistic interpretations, small imitations or reproductions of very large ones Armenian woman used to have living in the corners of their kitchens. Much salt was (is) used to preserve vegetables for the winter time food stash. And no, you don’t need to close your salt containers in Armenia; the air is so dry, the salt never gets wet.

***

Tea glass holders

Russian tea glass holders, known as podstakanniki (podstakannik singular) are fun things to collect because you can actually use them. They are still seen today on some trains and in the odd restaurant in Yerevan.

Podstakanniki come in many types and designs, some are real works of art. The ordinary ones are nickel coated, the fancier ones silver plated, and some are made of silver all the way through to suit the tastes of the rich and famous in Russia, who then burn their fingers because silver is such a lovely heat conductor.

If you’re a serious collector, you’ll covet the ones that belong to series commemorating special events, or depicting famous people or architecture.

Needless to say, Miss Footloose only has the proletarian type in her collection as befitting her status in the world.

***

Mom and Dad

Also works of art are some of the handmade dolls on offer. Pieces of old rugs and carpets are used and no doll is exactly like any of the others. The photo below depicts another specimen, a hunky guy with a fur hat who now lives with Miss Footloose.

Armenian carpet doll

Miss Footloose fell in love and took him home

These dolls are highly collectible, as the phrase goes, and seen in groups they make quite a display hanging on a wall.

***

Shiny doohickies for the guys

The Vernissage is a handyman’s delight. Tools, equipment, appliances from centuries past can be found, as well as every device, spare part or gizmo required to fix anything produced during the glory days of communism and beyond.

Since Armenia was once a Soviet republic, you’ll find Soviet memorabilia galore, such as these cheery telephones.

Vintage telephones from Soviet Armenia

Photo © Keegam Shamlian Thank you, Keegam!

***

If you suffer from cold ears in the winter, you might consider buying an ushanka, a traditional Russian fur cap with earflaps, especially well-known as worn by Soviet soldiers.

Tough guy wearing Russian soldier hat

The ushanka on the photo depicts the hat of a Soviet soldier. Looking carefully you’ll see that the badge on the front boasts the famous communist hammer-and-sickle symbol in the middle of the star. It must be noted that this particular hat is not made of fur or wool, but of polyester, lovingly crafted for the foreign tourist. (Possibly in China.)

Note also that our model here is not an actual Soviet soldier, but a little boy in pajamas, whose genes are a lively cocktail of American, Dutch and Italian. Since he has trouble sharing his toys with his sister we may safely assume he has no communist aspirations.

And so comes to an end a stroll through the Vernissage. It’s time for a cappuccino at the Marriott Hotel terrace overlooking Republic Square.

* * *

What treasures, or fascinating items have you found in foreign flea markets? Or in any market? Or what interesting adventure did you have? Entertain me! (Please.)

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

missfootloose July 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm

To my great regret all the wonderful comments to this story went missing during my migration from Blogspot to WordPress. However, I do have a copy of my reply to your comments here, so will post that again.

@ Mary Witzl: I love your hairdresser dummies story. Those are the fun things that give life color and interest.

@ Sonia, I know, I know, about the STUFF I don’t have very much, unloading lots of everything when I make another move across oceans and continents. However, it is very easy to get more. Sometimes it just appears out of nowhere.

@ Madame DeFarge: I only find fun things in foreign countries. I don’t even go to flea markets at home.

@ Candice, did you notice one of these phones didn’t even have a dial-thingie with numbers! By the way, they aren’t mine. I saw lots of them, but didn’t buy them. I found the photo online.

@ Jennifer, no, I don’t have all that stuff in my house. I took the pictures, except for the phone picture. I did see lots of these phones, though. I have one doll, those three little salt ladies lined up on my kitche window sill, and the teaglass holders are living in a box in the basement. I dug them out to take the photo.
@ BoonsongSomboon, yes the tough guy in the Russian hat is special I was hoping to entertain you also with a word or two for your collection, but perhaps you already have all the varietions of thingamabob and doohickeys…

@ Kate, you can find the teaglass holders online if you want them! Brussels, fried mussels, wine. Ah, wonderful!

@ mea, I’m not at all a shopper or consumer at home, but in foreign countries I loves seeing all the fun and different stuff for sale everywhere. It’s entertainment.

Reply

World Curious Traveler July 29, 2010 at 3:16 am

Oh my! I love all the little trinkets you photographed. Did you buy anything?

In my case, I love finding old unique dishes and pottery in markets abroad.

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: