24.1.13

*** Sidewalk Weekend ***

Sidewalk Rating: Frigid

The true Paris is by nature a dark, miry, malodorous city, confined within its narrow lanes…. swarming with blind alleys, culs-de-sac, and mysterious passages, with labyrinths that lead you to the devil; a city where the pointed roofs of the somber houses join together up there near the clouds and thus begrudge you the bit of blue which the northern sky would give in alms to the great capital…. The true Paris is full of freak shows, repositories at three centimes a night for unheard-of beings and human phantasmagorias… There, in a cloud of ammoniac vapor,… and on beds that have not been made since the Creation, reposing side by side are hundreds, thousands, of charlatans, of match sellers, of accordion players, of hunchbacks, of the blind and the lame; of dwarfs, legless cripples, and men whose noses were bitten off in quarrels, of rubber-jointed men, clowns making a comeback, and sword swallowers; of jugglers who balance a greasy pole on the tips of their teeth…; children with four legs, Basque giants and other kinds, Tom Thumb in his twentieth reincarnation, plant-people whose hand or arm is the soil of a living tree, which sprouts each year its crown of branches and leaves; walking skeletons, transparent humans made of light… and whose faint voice can make itself heard to an attentive ear…; orangutans with human intelligence; monsters who speak French.
[from Paul-Ernest de Rattier, Paris n’existe pas 1857. quoted in The Arcades Project.]
[The view from the Wabasha Street Bridge at night during a St Paul winter.]




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The wind slices through my pants, I feel the front of my thighs chapping in real time. The top of my head hurts, as does the little exposed skin between my hairline and forehead muff.

It is brutal out.

I try to stay on the sunny side of the street, but the shadows are now even longer than before. The sun is behind me, and I make a dash across the street just before the light changes — no way am I waiting there again. A quick left then a right and a short block to the corner, then another left — there is the hotel.

[this.]

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[NSFW.]

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