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Ready to see and be seen?

Miriam would go to the agora, the central marketplace in Alexandria, just to see and be seen. She describes it for us in THE DEADLIEST LIE:

The agora, our central marketplace, is both the heart of the city and its cloaca of gossip, the venue for seeing and being seen, for hearing and being heard. Like the legendary agoras in the Greek city-states, ours consists of a series of long, low buildings that face a central plaza, each building or stoa fronted by a portico to shade and shelter its shoppers. Within the stoas and their adjoining small buildings, are shops, snack bars, small inns, and industrial workshops.

Its vigor filtered into my lifeless arteries as haranguing hawkers and hucksters, orators and priests, soothsayers and astrologers, tricksters and swindlers, magicians and conjurers, snake charmers and peddlers, wizards and sorcerers all promised me a miracle for a price. Men and women of every class, many in the stunning colors of their native garb, bustle about the stalls, tents, and awning-sheltered barrows. Among them are hordes of slaves, pickpockets, cutthroats, musicians, Oriental dancers, prostitutes, loiterers, and speculators, all accompanied by the din of carts, the haggling of buyers, the calls of tinkers, the blandishments of vendors, the pleas of beggars, the quarrels of men, the gossip of women, and the buzz of flies. I often have to raise my hem to tiptoe around the ripe twists of excrement and the opals of phlegm that dot the pavement while I confront the squawks of caged fowl awaiting the butcher’s knife, the smoky odors of street food, and the reek of salted meat hanging in strips, threaded with fat, and streaked with blood.

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