Sex and La Isleta
La Isleta is 10.59 sq/km and was born next to, by and from Puerto de la Luz and according to Wikipedia it’s the most popular area of the quarter of Puerto-Las Canteras. For me, the Isleta is melodic sex. The notes from the sea on this side are untamed, sometimes calm, with personality, rhythmical. Its streets are a mixture of simultaneous sounds, different but armonic. The world seems to be condensed in this part of the world. I’ve been introduced to La Isleta in many occasions, I’ve walked through its streets in many others, I think I even lost my voice once in one of its arteries, I can’t recall why. However, the sweetest reencounter I’ve had with La Isleta came to be thanks to the phone. A mobile phone, of course, even though I like to imagine the scene with one of those heavy monstrosities where you had to introduce your finger and not lose track of the desired number, and the sound used to captivate me whenever I’d let the three or nine go back to the little metallic piece so I could dial the next number. Well then, through that phone, placed in one of the many windows at La Isleta, I got its sound, the quarter’s, after a gloomy summer day, in that moment when the light falls down the corners and the half naked bodies wander to the shower to take a break from the sun amongst four walls.
It seems this quarter has nothing but windows, in every size, in every color, with people peeking out or towels and swimsuits hanging from the washing lines, with pegs holding onto those ropes, frayed by the wind and the salt, losing a battle against the pigeons.
It is the perfect place for the light to play and paint shadows on the streets all day long, setting the time depending on which plot, door of terrace it decides to draw the neighbour’s cat or that electric fixture someone decided to install in order to play cards in the summer.
The sound, the sandy one by the flip flops on the promenade, the sugar glazed rubber that escaped this time taking advantage of the trade winds to appear in Puntilla. The plastic with the skin, a skin that screams dry and asks to be covered for a moment, just one, in order to take a little break that allows it to run out of breath so it can enjoy the liberty again two meters away from the salty broth.
The smells, it smells like fish and fuel here, and it gets into the pores, you don’t realize it and you become that smell when you walk around here, you get mixed up, become part of it, you get stuck to the streets, go around inside the neighbours’ mouths, your spirit navigates from a bar to a kitchen, and through your nose you aren’t able to distinguish between your scent or the typical Korean, Russian, Cuban, Canarian or Chinese meal of La Isleta. It is the same air that is breath differently around here, sweat and pheromones fight each other on the square, who placed those paint buckets on my spot so I cannot park my car? Mine, yours, ours, the street. They walk on it, get to know it and, in case there are any doubts, we guard it. We guard it from strategic corners, we know where they come from and whenever they come or go, we launch rockets not only to celebrate Carmen. Those airs keep changing but not the essence, the sandwiches, the towels, the joy. The joy is contagious, just like the fishmonger’s, those shiny sardines that look out with open eyes worrying about being picked up. Going out or not, you can be outside and inside at the same time here. It is a city within a city, it has always been, they used to get incommunicado by the high tide in the old times. That must mark that insularity within insularity itself, an island inside an island.
The fingers touch, these are fingers used to the algae, the tides, fittings and weldings. Hands with wide palms and fat limbs, swollen by working at the port, maybe protagonists of the port revolution supporting the activity that turned the island into a treasure, before discovering a different one that filled up some pockets and ruined many others.
Sometimes they are brave enough and leave the docks and you see them wandering the streets, they cling to this piece of island because it was the first thing they saw, where they first were accepted and where they are now part of the scenery of this quarter-port, where a bar might turns into a stage to remember another era, when nights were longer than days. Evicted, defeated by a different industry, that one of the sun creams and nice weather, they stayed in that refuge, which turn them into refugees. There’s always a place here, there’s always space for the one that arrives at the mercy of the winds.
And the island, this island, La Isleta, it’s sex. We talk without mincing our words here, you either are or you aren’t, whether you like it or not, with our without a swimsuit, with flip flops or boots, with a Russian accent, or Canarian or Cuban, it’s what it is, head-on, I’ll show you my breast or not, walking up the street and I might show you something else, good-looking. Always with gallantry and head-on, always head-on.
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