Entrance of the Chinese Four Tigers Market
I have been here in Budapest for one month. Time passes in a blink of an eye and space is still a floating substance, where a place is not linked to another one. Nothing is steady but dynamic. I found a nice coffee bar with a garden in my neighborhood and then it just disappeared to show up in another spot!
In this chaos, my city map is always in my bag. I use this map so often that it’s tattered with many big crosses corresponding to something I found interesting: the Brody Studios in Vorosmarty utca, the Capa Center in Nagymezo utca, the goulash of Kasimir, La Pizzica near the Opera where you can eat really good pizza.
Looking at my Lonely Planet’s map I realized that there are several signs concentrated in the same parts of the paper. It’s like some little islands of well-known spots floating in a sea of blank, un-know places. This reminds me of the Situationist avant-guarde movement by Guy Debord and his dérive, the art of wandering through urban space and the effects of the geographical environment on the emotions of individuals.
Isn’t it true that a place is not only a mix of beautiful buildings, statues and bridges, but first of all is an emotional place?
So on a sunny morning I decided to have my own dérive, at one of those not scribbled portions of my map. I randomly chose a point in the south of Pest, I checked it out on the web and found out that there was a Chinese market in that area. Walking away from the downtown, the landscape was different. No more Art Nouveau buildings and majestic churches, but wide streets with lot of traffic! The enormous Chinese market is located in an industrial area with decaying and abandoned buildings, but still incredibly fascinating. On the other side, the merchandise has no charm! I felt overwhelmed by an infinite amount of useless plastic stuff and ugly clothes. I tried to bargain for a pot but I gave up very soon. I didn’t feel comfortable in that place but, finally, I put my nose inside a shop with traditional Chinese food and natural medicines. I spent 2 hours there smelling different kind of tea, spicy powders…
My dérive brought me a delicious and incredibly cheap dinner with noodles and spring rolls, two jars of tiger balm for this winter, and a new cross on my “emotional” map.
Ilaria Déspina Bozzi