Mapping a journey:
A codification of experience, activity and function.
Turning a corner, the architectural language changes; broad light commercial streets are replaced by narrow lanes. Some are brimming with activity, others eerily quiet, spark intrigue “What could lie down there? What could be round that next corner?” The dirt, darkness and quiet off put. Intuitively we follow the crowds. There’s safety in numbers.
Drawn by activity, I wonder down lanes with numerous cafes, bakeries, eateries from all round the Mediterranean. Pizzerias locate next to kebab shops, next to paella stalls, next to North African bakers between traditional boulangeries. The streets throng with people of all nationalities.
On the right is a run down sorry looking Plaza. Eight unhappy trees organise the space. Cafes line one side and fruit and veg stalls the other. Refuse dominates the centre; over spilling bins, empty crates and organic waste discourage human habitation.
Tables and chairs outside the cafes are filled only with men. Laughing, shouting, putting the worlds to rights. Beyond the rubbish an unofficial market takes place. Fruit sold on counters made of stacked pallets. In one corner a man washes himself from a bottle of water that he hides in bin.
Through out my journey, I see only a few women; buying and selling, passing through, but it is the men that loiter. The streets are filled with men. They greet one another with hugs and smiles, sometimes just a handshake and an exchange of cash. The streets are dominated by men.
Activities happen at the corners, at the junctions between roads. Cheap tobacco, lighters and other goods are sold by men. On other corners the offers are for hashish or coke.
The lanes narrow again and the activity intensifies, narrow shop fronts overspill with goods onto the streets, foods and spices from around the world are traded, the sights and smells are overwhelming and intoxicating. Behind each narrow shop front lies a vast Aladdin’s cave.
At the end of the lane, counterfeit goods are laid out on the street for sale. People huddle, looking for a bargain. An old man clears stray packaging and over spilling goods from in front of his door with his walking stick in a tokenistic attempt to lay claim to a pavement that so many others have claimed for themselves.