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The Black Market


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The Black Market

Translated by Kátia Jesus — one year ago

Original text by Inês Melo

Looking over the river channels of Aveiro, you will find one of the most elaborate and iconic bars of the city.

The black market is a reference for all the cities' students and even residents. A hiden entery does not let you foresee the wonders of this place. You need to really look for it!

When you have found this little door, follows a huge staircase that leads you to the upper level of the center of Aveiro, where you get a privileged view of the river channels. Here, you will begin to understand what you will find ahead. Finally, after climbing many many stars, at times faster, at times trying to not miss your step, as many come from the town square, we arrive at the top.

The first impression is that, by mistake we entered the house of some stranger that by accident left the door open. The comfort and warmth given to us by the drinks that we shared at the town square led us there with a rush of happiness. Only the crowd that we see ahead can indicate that the place to which you stumbled is not in fact an ordinary house. Here you have to make a choice:

Left or right?

If we decide to go right, the smoke will not let us see at first where we arrived. We will instantly realize you're in the smoking area. It's the only place in the bar with windows facing the river channels.

But if we decide to turn left, there's no smoke. Here, we are presented with a never-ending corridor, so tight that two person cannot fit side-by-side.

However, the atmosphere of this place makes it unique!

As we cross the corridor, several rooms with even tighter entries present themselves. One might even think, we are back at the XVIII century and we were just invited by Luís XIV to spend the evening in Versailles. With an antique and classical complexion, we enter a completely different atmosphere from the rest of the city. "Alternative" books from which no one has ever heard expect from the "alternative" ones with the same "alternative" tastes.

But the deco does not fall far behind.

With a furniture most likely also from the XVIII century. There's a TV that even my grandma would call old. Obviously, this doesn't work. Not this one and not any other one that might exist there that I never saw. Yes, in this place, there is no TV. There is socialization. The real one, face to face, although at times interrupted by the sounds of facebook notifications on cell phones.

Right before arriving at the end of the bar, at the end of the corridor. there's another room. Never really understood what it is. An exhibition room, maybe. I never really understood for what the stuff that is in there is for. But the room is there. I really don't understand why though. Turning right, before entering the bar, there's another small corridor leading to the bathrooms. I haven't been there often and I am honestly relieved for that. They remind my of nightclub bathrooms where you would only find gangsters. Dirty and stinky. It's not like a have a problem with gangsters, I just don't like these types of bathrooms. Anyway, here's nothing of interest.

Let's hit the bar. Where they sell drinks. The same deco as the rest of the place. A little dark, but very welcoming and pleasant. Everything is a little alternative, this is kind of the signature of this place. The prices are written in bottles, glasses, windows, wherever one can write. There are no white paper sheets printed with Comic Sans or Times New Roman, with the prices and a bad drawing of a glass of beer bottle at the background. Forget that! Their way is way prettier. But while the way they choose to display the prices is nice, the prices themselves, not that much.

The prices are a little high for the ordinary broke student, like myself. One drink or two are still affordable. More than that and I can say goodbye to my "schnitzel" sandwich and my croissant and chocolate milk for lunch. A cider, because as much as I can drink a beer, I wish for a cider. And there goes my "Schnitzel". But anyways, one makes the sacrifice, because the good moments spent there make it worth.

Right by the bar is a room with couches and some tables, apart from the ones at the bar. Here the deco is even weirder. Cushioned chair seats fill the walls. Yes, chair seats. Its a macabre scene of furniture. The couches and tables fill the room, doomed to see their relatives quartered to the walls. All of them are different, as if some were bought at IKEA at MarShopping, while others appear to have come from a street fair from the middle of Mumbai. And right in the corner you can find one of those typical things that you expect to find when you go out in a bar. A sewing machine. With table and chair, for those, who between beers decide they want to give a stitch to their jacket. Should this look weird? Of course it is weird, but this is the Black market, so this is very ordinary.

We've arrived at the end of the corridor. It time to go back to the common rooms where one can socialize, with doors even tighter than the corridors that lead to them. As we enter in the biggest room, we can already see the typical coffe games. Darts and billiard. With couches and chairs that look like they are going to break at the tinniest of challenge. But this is only how they look, because they will not break. The perfect room, as most other rooms to be honest, for long conversation with friends in an evening well spent. And if you are like me, cause I sometimes simply tun off the conversations, there is always something to spend your time with. All across the bar, magazines, flyers and books about the most variable topics, like history, literature, art (some of it pretty weird) everything that might allow us to expand a little our culture and knowledge on a night out. The truth is, I don't understand half of what is written there, but at least its good to go out to a place where the only stuff I can read are that Ronaldo and Irina aren't dating anymore and that Benfica won the game against Desportivo das Aves.

Apart from this room, there are other places to go to. A perfectly ordinary and not at all weird room in a night bar: Just at the Black Market's fashion: A library.

The book selection that one can find in this building includes a great variety. Here, there is no Nicholas Sparks, nor Twilight. There are, once again, these types of books that no one has ever heard of and that I cannot understand. Even more, since some are in Greek or German or any other language that I cannot identify. However, there are also some of these, that everyone knows. The real classic tales. Scherlock Holmes Tintin books, amongst others. There are books from A to Z, without any prejudice or judgment, allowing us to leave some of our usual worship.

Nothing here smells new. However it does not smell of old either. It smells like used, but not at all bad. It is very difficult to find a new book. All the books you might take here are used, handled, read, veneered. But even so, these have been taken care of. This is good and bad. There are people who do not like to touch books, and are afraid of germs and everything that moves. As for me, I like it. I think it adds a certain personality. It's cool. Even the man who is selling the books helps to create the ambience of the bookstore. Big, fat, with a big white beard, with small glasses (it is not Santa Claus). Although he would only need to be dressed in the old clothes of the XIX or one of those centuries full of classic fashions.

Now back to the corridor. Once again. It's long. It's narrow. But even so, still leaves space for art, or would it not have been the entrance to a mansion. And this art varies . It varies because there are huge pieces of paper pasted on the walls of the corridor so that those who pass there leave their mark. But with a pen, these are not the marks of a dogs wants to mark the territory. Incredible, full-blown artworks cross and mingle with the scribblings of a baboon with a pen. Looking from afar, from the end of the painting corridor, they seem like scrabbles beating each other up. Individually, there are true talents that are a treat for the eye. With talent or not, I like it. Again, it's cool. It gives personality. And right before the end, we just have to talk about music. Whether live or non-live, quality music helps create a comfortable environment that rarely predisposes people to leave this venue. And this is it.

If you come to Aveiro, come by! You will not miss out on anything if you do not come here. But you will gain so much more if you do. Even more, since this is the Black Market area, there is traffic, there is a lot of traffic. Traffic of good moments and well spent nights that help brighten the life of Aveiro.



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