Diferencias, iii

24 October 2008

In Sevilla, capital of the autonomous region of Andalucía, built upon the ruins of the Roman city of Hispalis, birthplace of flamenco, taxi drivers at the bus station get out and push their cars along by the front doors to save gas. There are bikes on every block, city bikes, red-plated, on racks, for rent at a small electric kiosk that you take out and put away at another rack in the city, without having to worry about locks or theft, and technicians whose job is to go from rack to rack changing innumerable flats. Horse-drawn carriages leave the cathedral area just next to the tramtracks on which rides the sevillano metro.

Sidewalks, paved in marble or white- and rose-colored checked local stone, are dotted with flattened dogshit, & at the margins with trash & spittle, cleaned nightly but ignored otherwise, and the highways too are littered with trash at the side. At night, deliverymen on red motorbikes use the sidewalks, and the mail is delivered by young women wearing green boots & riding bright yellow Vespas with the royal crest & Correos across the side in dark blue.

The bigger the street, the more likely it is to be unsigned. All of the names changed after Franco died – in Jaén, la Avenida del Generalissimo is now Paseo de la Estación. Everyone still calls the Calle de Andalucía the Gran Eje.

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