Zev and I took a stroll the other day across the river from which Christopher Columbus began his journey to America to a vast tract fallen from time.
The area hosted the Universal Exposition of Seville back in 1992, a half-year celebration with the theme of “The Age of Discovery”. Over a 100 countries were represented, with giant concrete and steel pavilions covering 215 hectares (almost a full square mile).
Now, it’s like some post-apocalyptic movie set: the buildings remain, the people are gone. A canal has been filled in with tall grass. Giant arenas are fenced off, visited only by feral cats. A rocketship stands mute, left behind by a people escaping to the emptiness of space. Water fountains still spout, but weeds grow thick through the cracks in the tile.
My little iPhone camera just doesn’t do justice to the vastness of it, won’t capture how eerie it felt to be walking through this abandoned city. Supposedly, the area is today is “divided between a research and development park called Cartuja 93 and a theme park called Isla Mágica, the ‘Magic Island'”, but the only evidence of its on-going use we saw were the occasional parked car behind poled fences. These only added to the “neutron bomb” feel of the place. Where are the people?
At the very end, we found an open gate which brought us down through an aging cactus garden to the water. By its edge, teenagers passed bottles, practiced standing flips and made out in the darkness.