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06 October 2005

The Cold of the Night in the Street

Going shopping in the evening

There is another big city syndrome next to the one Saad mentioned (and I commented upon). After work on thursday I took the gf on a small "volta", out for shopping and cafe. We went to Victoria subway station (my old neighborhood) and from there up Patission. Patission is a big boulevard with fancy shops and about 6 lanes of traffic. When we went there it was already dark, and the darkness with the lights of the city got me thinking.

There is a certain atmosphere that I started to like, as one starts to like a nightmare that comes back year after year. It is that feeling of being out and lost at night in the city. Having all those big buildings around you, those cold lights and the expensive shops. The shops are an important part of the nightmare. They would offer a place to rest, to go "inside", but they do so only for a fine, only for the ones with the cash to spend. In the nightmare I might be out of money (like George Orwell in "Down and Out in Paris and London"). Always I'm out on the street. When I am alone outside in a city, especially at the hour when the evening turns into the night, I start to dive into this atmosphere of the beloved melancholic dream. This time I wasn't alone, so I just had a look at the well known feeling coming to visit from afar.

In Athens there are illegal merchants from third world countries out on the sidewalks, probably like in all other big european cities by now. They reminded me of how my imaginary nightmare is the truth for many people. Your source of income might be a box of beads and rings on a sidewalk in a city thousands of miles from where you were born, but as a human being you still need a place to retreat at night, somewhere to curl up and not only sleep but feel a bit of safety. It goes without mention that I am and feel privileged in this respect.

After actual shopping and window shopping, we went to eat something and then we went for sweets in a cafe from an american ice cream chain. A place full of light (and it would offer warmth too, but in early October in Athens, there is no big demand for that, you can sit outside all night with a light sweater). Sipping a mild shake and flipping through a magazine becomes much more of a treat after an imaginative brush with the cold night.

Posted by betabug at 23:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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