I really get jealous when I read other ex-pats blogs when they start talking about their lovely town square and various parks.
We used to have a lovely town square here. With a bandstand in middle and the typical spokes of lanes going out from that. Nice cement benches to sit on. Topiaries and palm trees created lots of shade and ambiance. There were always people there. Sitting and chatting. Young couples discreetly hugging and murmuring sweet nothings to each other. And food vendors. There were always little stands set up by local families selling tacos, empanadas and pizza.
Not any more. As part of the "beautification" program for the island after Hurricane Wilma, our park, our town center, was bulldozed to the ground. This is what we got in its' place:
It's so modern and pretty, don't you think? And oh so inviting. Notice how crowded it is. The stamped concrete surface is so cooling. Especially with absolutely no trees for shade. There are a few concrete benches, but not many. There are also benches made out of recycled plastic. These are dark green and really, really nice to sit on in the hot sun. Especially if you are wearing shorts! And that pool of water? Well that's the musical dancing fountain. I suppose it would be more interesting if it actually worked once in awhile instead of just being a water pit of garbage.
Vendors are not allowed in this space. The reason given is that the tourists don't like to see them. WTF! Sunday nights used to be packed with both locals and tourists, all co-mingling eating food from these wonderful vendors. Not any more.
If you enlarge the above picture, you can see the entrance to our wonderful grocery store over on the right. Otherwise, here's another picture of the entrance:
Some day I will get up the nerve to take my camera in there and show you just exactly how delightful it is to shop there. It even has four check out lanes! Nevermind that only one or two are ever open, no matter how many people are in line.
Did you notice the Madonna on top of the church? This was commissioned from our local sculptor. The one who did the fisherman memorial that I posted about earlier. Notice the cherubs at the Madonna's feet. He had to do one of them because the Priest here at the time thought one of them was too sexy. I don't quite understand how a cherub can be considered sexy, but there you have it. That particular Priest is no longer here. He was the same one that used to point people out during the service and publicly declare their sins to one and all. Not surprising, attendance dropped dramatically.
So now you know why I get so jealous.