Festival at the Market | May 23, 2009

So I went down to Sta Caterina this morning to make some headway on our drawing assignment. For how great the market is, there’s very few people who actually frequent it, opting instead to go to the market on the tourist heavy Ramblas. So I’m thinking, I’ll go down there, have my pick of where to sit and sketch and have some time left to do whatever. I apparently was the only person in Barcelona who wasn’t aware this weekend was some kind of big deal (I still don’t know what the big deal was), but everyone was dressed up very “authentically” and selling all kinds of useless little trinkets to the passing tourists. Needless to say, I got little to nothing done, but had a good time looking at the stands and buying myself some good ham.

As I was walking around I thought a lot about similar events in similar cities. My professor had mentioned something to us a couple of days ago about how the historic city is more for tourists, while the “real city” is emerging around it. Putting that in the context of other historic cities (Istanbul and Agra come to mind), I’d say that’s a pretty good take. In Istanbul, for instance, you’ll find some beautiful areas that sell trinkets and have performances, but much of the city is crappy housing projects and squatter settlements that a good portion of the people reside in. One’s no more “real” than the other, they just operate differently.

I guess my line of thought is this. I don’t really like being in this part of the city. You’re always getting heckled by someone trying to sell you something (most often some fabricated cultural artifact), making it impossible to explore the city for yourself. I think the fellows below are a decent example. They come out to play for the tourists and hopefully get tips. I contrast these characters with the ones I see playing in the subways and the difference is night and day. They’re doing the same thing, but for a different crowd. Probably not making as much money as the former, but in my opinion quite a bit better for the most part. More importantly its part of the city that would exist without the tourists. It’s a nice glimpse of some authenticity, but these other guys are fun to take pictures of, I must admit.


Posted in Barcelona_09

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I'm a young aspiring architect. This blog is a record of my journey in this great profession.







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