Posted by: martinworster | March 8, 2005

30. EL BARRIO PT II

More dog shit, cramped apartments, antique entrance halls, cockroaches, grumpy pensioners and immigrants

As befits an old fishing village, the streets are narrow and peppered with dog turd, whilst houses are old, small and cockroach infested. It’s rare for them to have lifts and the stair wells are ridiculously cramped. It’s not exactly the lap of luxury but the area does have a certain vibrancy to it if you step over the dog doo and become resillient to roaches. The water is gas heated and every so often you have to change the cannister. Cockroaches poke out their arachnid heads as the hairs on the back of their legs (and the back of my neck) bristle up.


Just like Britain, the Spanish and Catalans are coping with an influx of immigrants, primarily from Latin America (all countries), Morocco, Romania, China and Pakistan. I have to say it seems less extreme and volumous as in Britain. I don’t think there’s a Tower Hamlets equivalent where they have to print local council leaflets in fifteen different languages. Immigration is more of a recent thing here and it’s interesting to see how they cope. Frequently the locals begrudge the influx and blame crime on the new arrivals. Just like in Britain.

The Pakistani’s are perhaps the most enterprising. Again not unlike in Britain. On any night in the centre of town you see them standing prominently selling cold cans of cerveza for people milling around the streets. Its actually quite useful. Then on the beach they walk up and down chanting their mantra:

‘Aguafriacervezacolaspritepatasfritas….’ they repeat hypnotically.
Losely translated this means ‘Cold water, beer, cola, sprite, crisps’

Again this can be quite useful but on hot days they’re swarming like ants and the mantra starts to turn into Chinese water torture penetrating your mind on a hot July afternoon. And there’s so many of them.

Like in Britain the ‘corner shop’ phenomena is in exisitence. The Pakistanis own lots of open-all-hours food stores. The one next to where I live always makes me giggle as at the end of each aisle one of the guys sits on a stall making sure you don’t steal anything. I keep meaning to tell them if they installed a mirror they could save a lot of money on wages. 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: