Feb 8, 2013

Lisbon Stories (11)

The backstreets of the trendy 24 de Julho Avenue, in Lisbon, pay some of the price for the ‘movida’ that keeps the bright side alive all night – dawn included. I prefer to walk in there on Sundays by daybreak, when you can witness the slow death of the weekend nightlife, sometimes with the colors of agony, and the only dwellers are the homeless and a few early-rising locals. Once, I stopped in front of the pile of junk you can see in the photograph; I inspected it for a while; I took some pictures of it. Except for the mattress, it was business junk – most of it labeled with the TAP Air Portugal logo and mailing addresses.

A man appeared on the corner carrying a Bershka plastic bag. He gave a start when he saw me – apart from a flock of sorry-looking pigeons, we were the only non-crawling creatures in there – but he recovered when I uttered a cheerful ‘Good morning’. He answered back and went his way down the street. I started walking up towards the elegant, inaccessible villas that little by little took the place of the old working-class houses and shops. A mouth-watering smell denounced the existence of a bakery somewhere in the vicinity. I stopped to try to figure where it was coming from. Then the Bershka bag man made a reappearance. This time he didn’t see me. He probably backtracked to check if there was something in there worth salvaging. Or maybe he was just moved by curiosity – what could have I found in a pile of junk that made it worthwhile photographing?

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