We’re moving on a scooter that seems to be taking off. We remember well the time at Franco’s house when we ran out of beers and with the casual party mood. We’re not in New York, said the last-minute genius, here if there’s alcohol or anything else to drink at night you’re fucked. Partially true, and partially not, we still realized that this was a common problem, along with alcoholism of course. That was the moment we decided to finally offer a service to the community of night owls we care so much about. We were looking for those supernatural entities called the Bangladeshi Supermarket. The ones that do not close (or almost).
Lighthouses at night, sentinels of hope when there is none outside, these colourful shop windows blend in with the outline of the city. Forgotten, sometimes relegated to the margins, small realities that save your life (and the evening) on tiptoes. The Bangladeshis are an important community in Milan, to be precise the fourth, and in addition to being engaged in the itinerant trade of gadgets, flowers and clothing, you can find them behind many businesses like the ones we describe now. Small shops, surreal worlds, shelves full of detergents, absurd chips, biscuits, beers and wine. Discreet, taciturn, smiling and clumsy with their language, we talked to this community around Milan.
Most of them live and work in the north east, in the area that goes under the name of Banglatown, a triangle between Caiazzo and Centrale, moving to the areas of Nolo, Loreto and via Padova. Like Azmeri who has lived here for over 10 years, he almost thinks we are cops when we try to understand how his business works and how long it stays open at night. We grab a beer and head back to Zara, Marche, Istria, going all the way to Certosa and Monte Ceneri, Corvetto, Tibaldi and Navigli: a parallel world, made of Asian snacks of chemical hunger, rolls of emergency toilet paper, cold Peroni and tubers never seen before.
Driving at night on the scooter we gave a name, a face and an address to this other side of Milan. We gorged ourselves with strange products that come from who knows where (they tell us that the biggest distribution center is in Pero), drank 200 beers and 300 Coca-Cola, took a mess of air but the result is this: here is our guide to the bangla open at night.
Translated by Sila Turku Askin