I’m still wandering down the corridors of memory. Stumbling perhaps. It’s a dreamy place I’m in and I’m not yet ready to relinquish it. Thessaloniki, Salonika … what was its magic? Was it the right amount of decay versus newness? Old visions merging into the new? The people? Perhaps it was the space in which to walk, empty but not vacant.
Modiano Market. A vast roof above, still functioning stalls. Vegetables. Eggs. Meat. Cheese. A burst of voices, laughter. A flash of a smile. Then a beautiful silhouette. Her heels clatter on the stone. Her shadowed figure merges with the light at the end of the corridor. Cafes, tavernas, mini ouzeri clustered beneath the decrepit canopy.
More signs I can’t read. This is intriguing. I want to come back. But it is shuttered at night when I return though, drowned in shadow, and locked. Next time, stay for lunch.
The architecture of dreams. The crumbling and the cracked. The smooth walled and restored. Soaring ceilings. Fresh paint. Just the right amount of quirk.
A wine bar named after Hermes, the first craftsman, the first intelligencer, the first alchemist. Didn’t sample the food, but the beer works. The dining locals seem pleased. A crowd worthy of more than a glance. Animated faces. Families. Couples. Cigarette smoke shot through with late afternoon sun. This too is a place worth returning to.
An interesting couple. He’s black clad, alternative, she’s pretty, flashing eyes and a crinkling burn scar on her arm she makes no attempt to hide. They are backlit, spotlit almost, in the window. They are having too intense a conversation for me to interrupt. I’d like to take their photo, but the mood between them isn’t right, it seems. There’s a debate, maybe about trivial matters, maybe something serious. Best to leave them in their bubble.
Thessaloniki light. It penetrates the windows, the buildings, the cracks. It has space to illuminate and bring alive anything it washes down on. The air moves too. It is not thick or heavy, but fragrant with the sea and the perfume of trees. Perhaps it’s not so strange that the cigarette smoke never chokes or cloys.
The photography museum. A well curated collection by Greek talent shooting the vastly different places across the Middle East, from Dubai to Cairo in a converted warehouse building. Just the right amount of despots and the downtrodden. A suitably stark cafe with a terrific view of the passenger terminal quay. More parents and children. A toddler kicks the table, shattering the peace with his father’s coffee cup. Nobody minds.
Back to The Met. An international crowd. Greek. Turkish. Arab and African. Japanese. All dressed in expensive, well fitting clothes. Late afternoon drinks. I’m always greeted in Greek. I like this. English has infiltrated too much of the world, stolen too much of its mystery. I like hearing other languages, like codes waiting to be broken.
The sun is falling. Time to put the camera down. Another dream awaits me in the room.
This one I won’t photograph.