Friday, June 26, 2009

A Little More About Barbes

My neighborhood, Barbes, is what my friend Jennifer would call 'colorful,' some may call 'lively' and Fodor's calls 'not for the feint-hearted.' I am usually the only blonde, the only American getting off at my metro stop -- which could happen at many DC metro stops as well. The exit area of this metro uses a torturous-looking device of interlocking bars shaped like a two revolving doors. I cringe as I pass through, thinking I might be shredded into pieces, but luckily, I make it through alive. As I exit the metro, it is a crush of men selling stuff and pushing fliers in my hands.

Most of the men are selling black market cigarettes, fake Marlboro Reds - they are just 3 Euros, but as my name and info is already on the terrorist watch list for buying a cell phone, I will resist. At each corner of the street, usually an older man sells grilled corn on the cob, and bags of popcorn. Germaphobes - there is no hand-washing between his moving the corn across the grill and ashes and his placing popcorn into a seemingly pristine plastic bag. And, you can see from the photo, this whole enterprise is conducted in a grocery cart. I think this photo might be Fidel Castro, taking a little vacation from governing Cuba.

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