Monday, July 27, 2009

Bleach (not a basic ingredient)

Every day (including yesterday, which was a Sunday), an old woman walks around the grounds of the building I live in calling out "Javeli spirt!" She is selling bleach. I live on the 10th floor (the top floor) and there are a number of other such "tall" buildings in the area. Can you imagine having such a loud, shrill voice that carries to the top floors of buildings and with which you holler "bleach!" on a daily basis?

In the last few days, a new song has been reaching my ears through the open window. It is a man's voice yelling "malina! malina!" (just like that: saying the same word twice in a row). He is selling raspberries. Her voice has a different tune: it is held longer. Whereas his are staccato notes, the words short and punctuated. Between his younger male voice and her older female voice, there is a kind of harmony. It is the soundtrack of my day when I am at home. This melody, along with the pauses inbetween, forms the rhythm of the space where I live.


  1. last year once i heard this man singing to the building i was in these old armenian songs. and people would clip money in those things that holds laundry in place from a rope (i forget the name) and throw it down to him. ohh and i loved the sound of someone yelling watermelon in armenian in the mornings. i miss yerevan.

  2. you mean "clothes pins"? It's funny, but it seems all roads in Yerevan lead to clothes pins :) These days this term has come up in many forms and in many languages... most people don't seem to know what or how to call them. Of course, here they use the "russified armenian" word: spielka :D