In the Barra

Whenever I see or hear the word barra, I think barrio, which is the Spanish word for a specific neighborhood. People in Los Angeles hear the word barrio and might think "gang turf" but generally it just means a collection of streets with similar people who have a similar culture and background.

After spending an afternoon in Macau's Barra, I still thought of a barrio, since it's definitely a cohesive neighborhood, filled with people who make their living from the sea. However, the word Barra actually has a different meaning in Portuguese: sandbank or port entrance. And a port entrance is exactly what it is.

The Barra is the waterfront area that runs along the east side of the Macau Peninsula. All the buildings on the east side of the Barra back right up to the water, with giant roll-up doors used to access the boats which pull up laden with sea creatures and imported goods.

Standing in Macau, looking across the river to China

The four of us wandered up and down the tiny streets, peering into shopfronts and giving cheerful waves to the locals who were boldly staring at us, curiosity lining their faces. We stayed until the light drizzle became an actual downpour and we found our sandals insufficient at keeping our feet above the water level in the road. Sandals were the enemy that day... they kept us out of the Ponte 16 Resort and finally drove us back home to flee the muck in the streets. Oh well. There is more to explore in the Barra, including a temple and a fortress. So we'll be back. With better footwear and my bigger camera!

China, just across the water.

Can you imagine living in such a narrow building? It's the width of a regular four-door sedan car.


Here you can pick your dinner outside, and then go inside where they'll prepare it for you.

Mail call

What every room needs: lots of weapons lining the walls and a dragon hanging overhead.

Wriggly crabs, unhappy with being bound up.

Even less happy live frogs, and colorful sacks of other sea creatures. The man who carried this sack off a boat kept prodding them gently with a stick to prove to us they were alive. Or to shock us. The boys asked if they were meant for pets or food. Tastes like chicken, right?

More wriggly live crabs, bound even more firmly than the ones in the basket.

Old. Rusty. Peeling. Chipped. Everything still used the way it was the day it was shiny and new.

Row after row of buildings this close.

Dried things from the sea.


Comments

Matt said…
Love all the photos and culture. Keep them coming!

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