Outside Looking In

Being a traveler affords one some anonymity, it also insulates you from those around you by your lack of understanding of language and customs. The people around you talk rapidly in a language you may be unfamiliar with. At other times people maybe speaking in English and they are not aware you understand. All this is common knowledge. I enjoy stating the obvious.

Being a traveler makes one vulnerable, you aren’t sure of local custom, protocols or accepted behavior. You rely on the good graces of the people around you to help you or interpret the correct behavior. This encourages some humility on your part.

I am staying in a brand new home in an older residential neighborhood of Lisbon, the original house had to be demolished, it was inadequate and could not support the new construction. It took a little more than a year from start to finish. There are a few other refurbished or new homes in the area, all of these houses would be too expensive for the local working class folk or retirees buy, they are being priced out of their neigborhood, It is another example of creeping gentrification.

There is a mystery unfolding at this house, something that is hard to explain rationally. Every day either in the midday or late at night, a small empty container of cat food appears near the garbage and recycle containers of the house. The people who live in this house do not have a cat. This has been going on for months. No one knows who leaves them or why. No one has seen anyone leaving a can. They just appear.

Trying to slueth a reason is difficult. Is this a personal vendetta, did the construction upset them and this is their way of giving the new homeowner their critique? Or is it a commentary on gentrification. God knows gentrification needs a reasonable commentary. I have seen gentrification happen in my hometown, my neighborhood in Seattle has been going through a slow avalanche of upgrades and gentrification for the last 20 years . For the last ten the whole city has been under the pressure of rapid change. The same pressures are happening in Lisbon.

Gentrification is a form a descrimination, choose your descriptor, class or economic.