The Port

‘The port smelled like nowhere else in Arkanar. It smelled of saltwater, rotten pond scum, spices, tar, smoke, and old salted meat; the taverns reeked of cooking, fried fish, and stale beer. The humid air was thick with swearing in many languages. Thousands of strange-looking people thronged on the piers, in the narrow alleys between the warehouses, and by the taverns: disheveled sailors, pompous merchants, sullen fishermen, dealers in slaves, dealers in women, painted girls, drunken soldiers, some dubious individuals hung with weapons, and outlandish vagrants with gold bracelets on their dirty paws. Everyone was agitated and angry.’

Hard To Be A God, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

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