Upside Down Notebook

Putting the street into the notebook. By Ben Dangl

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La Paz: Pachamama’s Concrete Jungle

February 28th, 2009 · No Comments

Outside the window is a wall of sound. People on the street talk through microphones to sell mangoes and religion. Trees cling like hair to the sides of old, bored mountains. Laundry flaps outside the neighborhood’s windows. Those clothes drying in the wind are the flags of a family, more relevant to what’s important in a life than any national flag.

This is Saturday’s postcard to Sunday, written with the market purchases that will be tomorrow’s picnic, with today’s traffic jams that will be tomorrow’s silence.

The city is a living beast, pumping its own blood, digesting its own food. Graffiti is the city speaking to itself, the tattoos and grocery lists of a breathing city, a city that hates forests as much as it loves its streets, the thump and skid of a soccer game on pavement, the resigned battle between pedestrians and traffic.

Some people walk on the sidewalk slowly, intently, perhaps not wanting to ever arrive. Others rush like the cars, knowing only their destination.

The house plants press against the window. knowing this, wanting to be a part of the movement and drama.

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