We lived in Barrio Santa Cruz for three days, and it was surprise after surprise as we find our way through the maze of tiny lanes in this Jewish quarter. Natural light played such an important role in the theatrics of our exploration. We wandered in the tiny dark lanes devoid of light, and then “surprise!” the sun lights up the very intricate facade of the corner house.
I normally will not use the phrase “live in” for a short-term tour visit, but this place felt really different. It was as though I lived there years, left a dark history behind, and then revisiting it now that the shadows has been lifted, or dissolved by the light of a later journey in life(/lives). We meant to stay there two days, but I was so in love and comfortable with the familiarity (too many repeated moments of déjà vu at every corner of this medieval city) that we extended to three.
The streets were built so tiny for utilitarian / security / survival reasons. They were brief branches of disconnect lanes, so that the residents have an upperhand in making their escape when outsiders attack. Non-residents would have difficulty finding their way around! “Dead-ends” every corner sounds like a plan. The lanes are so narrow that only a couple of pedestrians can pass through at any one time.
There were two courtyards that we kept walking into, and I had seen one of these two spots in my healing processes before, many times in fact. One had three poles, and each time I passed, I get flashbacks of the crowds looking at the three hung bodies. Sometimes it was day, with them looking, pointing, some looking down; and sometimes it was night, a little rowdier, with people holding their torches. At times I wonder how many lives of persecution I lived through – it does not feel like they are the same places though the feeling of persecution is the same, except at times I was the watcher (in this specific courtyard), and at times I was the one persecuted (a much larger, majestic courtyard, which I am not sure if I have visited it this life yet).
The other courtyard unlocked something in me. Something about loyalty, something about love, something about family, something about paradox, and something about making the wrong decision about all the above. I hope I was not the young lady who betrayed her family to save her lover. It was not exactly a betrayal per se, she warned both sides, which meant both sides had secret info, and the loverboy killed her clan. She died after (probably suicide) and her head was hung at the street corner. Yup, and of all places, I kept passing by that corner too. Creeped me out totally.
* * * Just Discovered * * *
The Tiny Traveller blogged about this place too, with pictures!
I was too caught up with the motion-picture running through my own head, I did not take any (too creeped out too!).