Thursday, August 24, 2006

A city living

Old Jewish quarter in Arad. Now mostly in ruins, old houses empty and deserted. It was once a thriving community. Parts of the neighborhood are being refurbished and another is for years lived by Roma families. In a twist of fate two communities different but at times equally discriminated both spent time in these walls. My past, my family, and my roots are slowly fading in this city. Other peoples are born there and live there. The city is kept alive. Their city. For my part I can only find ghosts. Posted by Picasa

Towering skies

A neo baroque building unlike the typical Romanian Orthodox churches with their more Byzantine style. It overlooks on the main market and is a major landmark for the city. Posted by Picasa

Football game under the old Water Tower

In high school, my best friend and I we used to dream about opening a club in the disused building towering over an entire part of the city. Posted by Picasa

Old market street

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The street that used to be called Lenin

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Pink skin

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Piata Mare

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The streets of higher learning

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The night train

Every time I take the night train to Arad I feel like going to a ghost town. A good part of my childhood took place there and some of my family still lives in Arad but the city itself is gone, emptied by what made it the City. I always wonder if it is more me that changed and symbolically emptied it or the fact that so many people that made it my own are gone or changed beyond recognition made it deserted of relevance. The night train, once totally crammed, cold in the winter (or super hot) and steamy in the summer, hundreds of people, sleeping cars with double and triple bookings, the occasional bribe to the car steward so you can get a bed and maybe clean sheets. All different now or almost! But with people making the trip in private cars, planes or busses less and less of them seem to take the train and the night train is deserted. Going out on the aisle is now devoid of the old sensation of social experiment. Nobody to observe, just the odd businessman, I admit also less stink of stale cigarettes and old carpets. Gone is the discovery rewarding curiosity with a chunk of fractured, incomplete but delicious bits of conversation, details of lives, snippets of information on the world, histories and opinions.

The same with my old childhood city… It is gone. One way or another it lost some of the magic that always made it so special. I am yet to know if the change that brought this about is good or bad. In the meanwhile I still take the night train … Posted by Picasa