The street here, on both sides, is lined with tiny shops, florists or art stores or small dirty places with meat standing on hooks. Shops with gifts for friends, knick-knacks, things that spin and light up and, ultimately, gather dust on your shelf. And restaurants, restaurants everywhere, a few square meters chalked off where you sit and wait for steamed buns stuffed with carrots, or plates of noodles to fog your glasses.
And the people. When you walk down the street, all you need to do to see people living their lives is turn your head. Intimate moments, too--families yelling at each other, old couples grazing hands. People's faces lit up by a TV screen, laughing or incredulous. An old man sitting and staring, and seeing nothing.
Actually, in this the city opens to you like a book. In these shops you can read it carefully, read the families as lines in the history of this place, the streets as chapters. And each person, ultimately, only a word--a word left on a pillow the last time one wakes, or pressed into a son's hand in the final moment.
It is yet to be seen whether you, the traveler, have planted yours here to grow, or tossed it in one of the many small rivers that criss-cross underneath the city.