Third world Casa Blanca
smell of spices and fried foods
rise from a first floor farmers market
jewelry on the cheap
watches and cell phones
might last for a week
three if you’re lucky.
Labyrinth of aisles and warrens
maze of small shops
harried clerks and throngs of customers
newspapers from a world of nations
foods of any taste.
An edgy gritty feel
above all this
some twenty floors of small one-star hotels
rest stops for immigrants and new arrivals
Lonely Planet tourists
travelers of low means
a constant rattle of Mahjong tiles echo in the air shaft by my window
looking out on other rooms the same as mine
the price is right
stay here a day or two at most.
On my way out this early morning
passing still closed shops
the biggest rat I ever saw!