Tattoo parlors and parking lots


My neighbourhood, San Jose Artesano, is typical, middle class Algeciras:  eight story apartment blocks with stores at street level, interspersed with weed filled plazas and palm trees.

The  neighborhood is about 40 years old, which is a good thing.  Anything reasonably affordable built in the last ten years is a future ghetto.  We live in less than 100 m2, (1000 square feet), which sounds small by Canadian standards.   However, the average new place in Spain squashes a family into 70 m2 (750 square feet).

That said, we don’t have a single closet.  Or a basement.  Or a garage.  Think about that.

Unfortunately, many of the new subdivisions are  lifeless American style bedroom ghettos reaching further and further from the center of town.  San Jose Artesano still feels like a real Spanish neighbourhood, which I love.  Without walking more than 50 meters from my door you can enjoy a fruit stand, bakery, hardware store, butcher, upholstery shop and flamenco dance studio.

It’s a colorful place, in every sense.

These flowers in front of the next building are beautiful.  Our building association unfortunately doesn’t have a green thumb.  Our neighbours specialize in dog walking, not plant watering.  We have dog poo, not flowers.

This is how my favorite outdoor coffee shop looks after a busy weekend.

We also have a neighbourhood tattoo parlor, sex shop and hairdresser.  OK, I had to walk maybe 70 meters to take this photo, but still, imagine all those essential services at your doorstep.


I love the paint on the garage doors on the building across the street.

Algeciras social strata are determined by parking.   These snazzy little single car garages are out of our league.  Our car is in a parking lot half a kilometre away.  Much further than I would have to walk to get a tattoo.  Think about that!

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