Barcelona Photoblog: Barcelana Handbags On Top Manta

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Barcelana Handbags On Top Manta

Barcelana Handbags [enlarge]

No, this is not a typo. It clearly says Barcelana. A play on words with Barcelona and Lana which means wool. Although the brand is known and its products are sold in local stores, this handbag you see in the image, was being offered on the black market or what is known as top manta somewhere near Mirador del Alcalde in Montjuic, Barcelona. The place which is full of tourists, has lots of possible exits to escape from the scene in case the police is spotted in the vicinity by strategically distributed watchmen. In this case there was an interesting cooperation among countries: most of the street vendors looked like Pakistanis or Indians but a small minority was Chinese. They carried their own watchman. After a while a warning came from one of the sentries indicating the police was near. Everything got smoothly and swiftly packed up in bundles with some kind of contrivance that folds in the whole blanket in seconds. False alarm. It had been just some guard patrolling on his motorcycle. All the illegal traders came back and little by little the fuss disappeared. Top manta is not new in Barcelona and although there are sporadic police raids to stop such activities everything spontaneously regenerates like a lizard's tail.


  1. There's a similar handbag-selling scheme operating in Athens. It's amazing how quickly these guys can pack up and disappear when the police comes.

  2. Sure! They are everywhere. Some people have to eat. Speculation and mafias should not exist of course, but the pawn in the whole game has to make ends meet.

  3. Anonymous2:57 PM

    The problem is the same in Los Angeles - especially in Santee Alley, east of downtown LA - infrequent raids by police, but there are ALWAYS customers ready to purchase the counterfeit goods.
    Thanks for sharing your pics.

  4. My daughter was in athens over the spring break and she was amuzed with the quickness of these people, to be there selling one minute and to be gone the next. She came home with many stories.

    Carlos, when is a good season to visit Barcelona? what month? not too hot not too cold?

  5. You are welcome Designslinger!
    Patricia, May-June or September-October. May is less hot and October colder of course. But there's a great probability that the weather is fine. June and October are not high season for tourism so that should be consider as well. Less people better journey and cooler space ;)

  6. Anonymous2:27 PM

    Santiago has similar things, especially with people selling counterfeit books and DVDs. I don't know how quick they are able to take their stuff from the blanket where the things are (without dropping anything), and run.


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