Monday 13 September 2010

It’s almost hand-in time, and so some final general impressions.

I liked the Avenida da Liberdade before I did this project, and by the end I loved it. It’s ravishing, of course – I always thought that. But having got just a little bit under its skin, it’s also a place packed with characters and human stories …

– Maria, who sits in the café all day, nowhere to go;
– the car-usher who goes without food so that his daughter can eat;
– the transvestite/transexual car-usher;
– the Romanian beggar-woman, sat in the same spot each and every day;
– the homeless man sleeping in the same doorway every time I pass;
– the waiter with a joke for every occasion;
– the unseen father who uses posters to accuse the authorities of stealing his son …

… and contrasts.

– well-heeled tourists and hunched-up beggars;
– young people striding, old people struggling;
– couples in love, couples in trouble;
– loud people, subdued people;
– some in a hurry, some dawdling;
– the high-fashion shops and the derelict ones;
– the shiny 5-star hotels and the abandoned, bricked up houses;
– patches of searingly-white cobblestone, and oases of shade; 
– the constant, ugly drone of traffic broken by the crystalline song of a blackbird …

I felt like a sponge watching and hearing and feeling all of this. I have perhaps erred here on the side of being at times more descriptive than reflective. But the elements I observed and describe here do lend the Avenida a kind of organic nature; indeed, they’re its lifeblood.


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