IN THE CITY OF DESIRE

If you turn to page 64, you’ll find
breakdowns of the currency exchanges.
Most coinage is accepted here, although
charges may apply. Converting a kiss
to a hand beneath a waistband
is not as easy as it once was.
Some blame the city. Others,
the inhabitants. It is difficult to say
how much a black market
undermines the economy, or is
the economy. Long time residents
complain the city’s infrastructure
has grown unwieldy. Where are the fruits
of our labor, they ask, and it is true;
no children play in these streets.
But every city has its limits.
Many visitors admire the arabesque
architecture (detailed on page 78)
but fewer realize the city’s real triumph:
the plumbing dates back
to the second century and effortlessly
carries the waste away.