Sunday, April 03, 2005

Unreal city

I went for my usual Sunday coffee and newspaper with pH. Old age habits. Already. I walked; the city around me felt unreal, dream-like, once more. Because of the clouds and the light. Also:

A taxi stopped next to me while on my way to the café. The door opened and a Chinese woman got off it. She did not close the door behind her, but quickly walked away. I helped the driver leaning over the gear stick shut the door by pushing it gently. Further down the street someone honked at the woman. Men drivers here hardly ever tease or harrass women pedestrians: they either belong to someone, husband or father, or are (the wrong kind of) foreign.

I was therefore perplexed. Was she a trotteuse? And how can passing drivers tell while I cannot? There was nothing at all exceptional about her appearance (you know: quirky clothes, excessive makeup and the like). I will possibly never find out as my attention was immediately afterwards caught by a roofless building crumbling apart, complete with a stair leading nowhere:

stair

For houses, a fate even worse than war is to end up unloved. Most Outposters don't love the old quarter of the Capital. Some of them once told me it's full of criminals and foreigners, others that it looks like a foreign country. Who knows who it is exactly who lives in a foreign country.

Next to the ruin, three Subcontinentals were discussing about 'jumaa', with a long wavy 'a'. Two more, a couple, walked past me, the man in suit and flip-flops. Further down the street a busy call centre, which until recently was a shop. An Eastern European and a Subcontinental were speaking on the phone in cubicles whose external wall was the shop window.

Almost there, I glanced at some underwear at Wolford's. I found a pair of stockings (with a handwriting pattern at the back of each leg) particularly sexy. Old age tastes, from someone who used to find Ann Summers stuff both pedestrian and tame. Let's say I got classier with time.

5 Comments:

Blogger The Passenger said...

The old capital is very popular with young people as a place to have a good night out-I've been to many bars,pubs and caffees there whenever I am back here from England and they are always full with people.

As for the state of the old capital during the day, it is true that there has been a neglect and a ghettofication (I made up the word) of the place. With its narrow streets and proximity to the buffer zone it is not the most appealing place for someone to raise a family there. People moved out of the place because they wanted a better looking environment and I for one don't blame them.And naturally when local people move out, immigrants move in.Happens in many places around the world.

As for the chinese girl, it is a fact that the majority of chinese women in the Outpost work in the "sex market".They all come here as students(to obtain visas) but a police scoop recently revealed that most of them never even show up once in the colleges that they are enlisted in. You get to know these things when you are local. (continued in next comment)

4/4/05 01:46  
Blogger The Passenger said...

As for your statement about women belonging to a husband or father, I really can't understand what you mean. The reason you don't see such harassing behaviour in Outpost streets is because(most) people here just don't feel like doing it.And that's all there is to it.

4/4/05 01:49  
Blogger Loxias said...

"the majority of chinese women in the Outpost work in the "sex market".[...] most of them never even show up once in the colleges" (emphasis mine).

This is not true.

4/4/05 09:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The statement doesn't surprise me at all, considering the minister of justice and public order himself actually said on an interview that 50% of the women in Eastern Europe dream of becoming ehores. The same man who used "little chinese women" (κινεζούλες) as a synonym for whores. The stereotyping and rationalization tha takes place in the Outpost is unbeleivable.

4/4/05 16:53  
Blogger moira said...

I have a particular soft spot for neglected buildings, and often wonder who occupied them, what the rooms were used for, what old ghosts of memories they retain. It probably has more than a little to do with where I lived for several years; we were poor and lived in a dilapidated old house in the country, complete with two wood stoves for heat and cooking during the winter months. It had a door without a staircase, several feet up, bracketed by two windows. When seen from the outside, the house seemed to have a surprised, vacant look, the door a big "O" of a mouth and the dark windows empty eyes.

7/4/05 10:02  

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