Cádiz, a year within the walls of dreambubble city
Cádiz, a city full of dreamers who wait patiently for the day that the Levante will bring them the realisation of their dreams by blowing it right into their arms on an ordinary tuesday afternoon. Where the mayority of the macho-men still live with their mom. Where you mean “at least not today” when you say “mañana” and where even the patience of other Spaniards is challenged all the time. Where the bridge is not a symbol for the connection that she forms, but for the separation that makes her necessary. Where rules are guidelines and prohibitions are challenges. Where consonants standing between an “a” and an “o” are not pronounced, even if that means that after leaving out the last “s” of the word and swollowing the first syllable, only the “a” and “o” remain. “Cái”, where you don’t want to leave when you can, and where you can’t leave when you want to.
Like Pájaro, an Argentinian who couldn’t get Spanish documents because he forgot to divorce his wife when she decided to go back to her home country. Now he couldn’t go back anymore either, because his visa was expired and also for some other reasons that he avoided to mention so explicidly that I believed they where legit. Or Jonny, who had run from the hectics of London with the idea of taking a one-year break, and who realised three years later on a rainy fall morning that he didn’t have money to go back to the UK. Or Sandy, who’s real name was Sandra, and who told everyone that they shouldn’t tell anyone that, because she was afraid that her stalking ex-husband-to-be would find out where she was.
And me, Nelly, a chaotic medical student with an extremely organised life according to Gaditan standards. A life that I could hardly remember living anymore once I was dragged along by everything that surrounded me in my search for experiences that could complete my world view, in the conviction that the finishing touch should be very close by now. We all found our place within the protective walls of the city that kept the influences from outside out and the mutual secrets from the inhibitants in. The ultimate hiding place, where the rest of the world doesn’t excist. Dreambubble city.
Where it’s never quiet because someone’s always screaming that it should be. Where the smooth asphalt of new town’s four-lane road suddenly passes into a bumpy cobble-stone kind of parallel-road at the old towngate, that you should enter on the left if you want to end up on the right. Cádiz, where you’ll certainly get lost when you’re not “from the city” and where people from the city are certainly all a bit lost. Where the people in the streets relate more to their brothers in the north of Africa than to their Spanish compatriots across the bridge. Except for when there’s a world championship final going on. Where everybody has a dog and nobody knows why.
The typical sight of the city is simply ugly, with the domes of the cathedral just high enough to be seen behind the uninspiring buildings in front of it, and the dull citywall with big piles of concrete blocks lying crooked at the it’s foot, as if one day they just fell out of an airplane and remained. Ugly. Electricity wires and t.v.-aerials above a boring collection of square buildings with the paint peeling off the walls besides the cathedral. Ugly, ugly.
But everyone who knows what’s behind those walls sincerely finds it a beautiful picture. Spending a year surrounded by the coulorful people that Cádiz is full of, you certainly learn how to look through a lot of walls in the same way: unemployed, artists, parasites, people on the run, alcohol- and drugaddicts, beggars, homeless, psychiatric patients and illegals. A group of people in which friends are found, who’s citywalls, concrete blocks and electricity wires you learn to appreciate as they learn to appreciate yours; first despite of and later thanks to their presence. Because they make the city what the city is, unique and peculiar, and because you know what lies behind. Adorable imperfection, could be a definition of “love”. Cádiz.
Where black and white are only visible as paper-thin lines around a big grey surface, in a piece of art that could have been named “life”, “human” or “judgement”. Where the best terraces are looking out onto a solid wall. Where at Sundays whole families take their complete furniture to the beach, where they then spend at least ten minutes complaining about fact that there’s so little space because everyone took their complete furniture to the beach. Where foreigners are “naturally” welcome, but where as a busker it’s better to start singing Spanish songs when you see police approaching. Where every summersday a public of “real” Gaditans gets together at the playa La Caleta to see the sun painting the humid sky before she slowly drops down into the sea and everyone strolls further happily.
“The bay of Cádiz, huge embrace , when she closed her arms, I stayed inside.”
“La bahía de Cádiz, abrazo inmenso, cuando cerró los brazos me dejó adentro”
~ Alejo Martinez – El rumbo de tus pasos ~
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