|Tuesday, December 10, 2019
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Summer issues in Puerto de la Cruz as boring August bows out! 

That’s August out of the way and quickly forgotten. The month when nothing seems to happen, the month when everybody and his uncle appears to be on holiday at the same time, a month when dealing with officialdom is like banging you head against a brick wall. A month of which I have very little to comment about. Well, not quite.

Fiestas of July were all about the town as a whole, but fiestas in August are all about the Barrios with a different neighbourhood celebrating each week.  Different areas maybe, yet the format for each fiesta is basically the same, a beauty pageant, with young women, or men, parading themselves before an audience. An outdated concept, which, prior to moving here ten years ago, I had thought was yielding to public opinion and gradually dying a death. Not here, where of course, the beauty pageant is a time honoured tradition, and tradition is not to be trifled with.
The same goes for loud music, another key feature of the local fiesta, volume is obviously important, and that goes for more than the music, now I come to think about it.
Then there is the parading of their respective saints through the streets. I just don’t get it, not being a church goer myself, how a whole community can turn out to honour their saint, yet churches at the weekend remain relatively empty. I never realised religion could be such a part time thing.
Finally, quite literally to round of the event there has to be fireworks and not those pet friendly ones where the only sounds to be heard are the ooohhs and aaahhs from an appreciative audience enjoying the spectacle. No way has Jose, here there has to be bangs and the bigger and louder and more frequent the better. We are back to volume again, a reoccurring theme locally.
My dog has gone com-pletely deaf, not from listening to fireworks I hasten to add, just through old age. It will come to all of us in good time I guess. What did you say? Can you speak up? She used to hate fireworks, would cower shaking in the bath from the first bang to the last and of course they go on for so long here. Now she sleeps blissfully through the whole barrage. An upside to her deafness then, if there is such a thing, the downside being trying to get her to come back when out walking. Sign language works, but only if she is looking at me, obviously.  At first I thought her deafness was selectively, something we are all guilty of at one time or another , but her reaction to the New Year celebrations, or rather her lack of reaction, finally scotched that idea.
So the moral of that little story is whilst fireworks no longer affect my dog, there are many many more in Puerto that they do. So are they really necessary, and if so, surely not every weekend? I seem to remember during the town hall’s more cash strapped years,  when due to austerity, there were far less fireworks, certainly makes you wonder if they are necessary at all.
Of course , local fiestas weren’t  all that was on offer  during August  in Puerto de la Cruz , there was  the Phenomenally successful Phe  two day festival  that they always make such a song and dance about beforehand,  followed  by  Bavarian week, which was probably not such an attraction  although the three day beer festival , strangely called Oktoberfest  always pulls in a good crowd. Plus right at the end of the month, after their extended stay in Los Cristianos, Monster Trucks roared into town to wreak havoc and destruction.
The end of August was also a milestone, albeit a very tenuous one, in the continuing saga of the new bus station, or should I say the Estación de Guaguas, so as not to upset the locals. After moving the completion date first from April to the end of July, and then again to the end of August, the latest completion date has been reached with the station obviously far from complete.  A more accurate estimate for completion, if that even really means anything, is now the end of the year.
Does it honesty matter if the project continues to overrun , the buses still run and it is not as if the bus station is to offer anything new, apart from, perhaps, some public conveniences and maybe  a little less congestion , pedestrian wise, at least. It will be interesting, once the site is finally up and running, to see just how manoeuvrable the bus area is.  It looks a little small to me, and with most of the buses departing either on the hour or half hour I can’t help but think there will be a queue. No different that now you might think, but now they are already in the road that in future they will be trying to turn onto.  Perhaps they will have traffic light assistance now that would be a new initiative for Puerto de la Cruz, traffic control.
So that all I am going to say about the bus station , I can’t help to wonder if once the dust has eventually settled on the project  it will be a bit of an anticlimax with people thinking is this what we have been waiting for all these years. However, one thing is certain, it can’t be any worse than the one it replaces which is most probably going to sit right next door for many years to come  as a stark reminder  of the mistakes that have been made in the past..
I had expected, this month, to be able to report on the completion of two other long standing and long overdue projects, both of which we were told, in the run up to the May local elections, would be complete by now.
The children’s play ground, in what was formerly Parque Laurel, was started in April 2018 with an ambitious 8 month build time.  I visited it a couple of weeks ago, to all intents and purposes it is complete, the play equipment is in place and the planting is finished. It looks very good, well worth the extra wait I think, if only it was opened and in use. I can’t see why there is a delay, unless of course they are trying to agree a date when all the local dignitaries, persons concerned, and general hanger s on can gather for the official opening. Meanwhile the kids can wait. I write this article in advance so hopefully in two weeks time by the time you get to read it the playground will be open, but I wouldn’t put money on it.
The ‘missing link’ in the coastal path is still missing. When the rest of the path was opened in January it was to be a couple of months until the middle bit would be complete, allowing you to walk from end to end.  Only the couple of months have stretched a bit due to unforeseen problems in the construction. I sometimes wonder what the architects and surveyors actually do when quoting for these public projects they never seem to get it right; surely they build in a contingency when preparing their proposal. To be fair to the current construction com-pany, they did inherit the project from another who walked away from the job part done. This path has been under construction for years, it is another one of those will they ever finish projects that Puerto is renowned for.  Until then there is no wheelchair access to the area and there won’t be until calle Agatha Christie is renovated, and that is another project altogether.
As I am finishing this, the programme for the Summer Carnaval (September 12th to 15th) has been announced. Shock horror, no men in high heels race, the locals won’t be happy and the Carnaval Queen Gala  give way for a Carnaval King Gala. What did I say at the beginning of this, you can’t mess with tradition?  It looks like the change in the town hall team might herald a change in direction after all.