Writing in the local paper. Local issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.
|Bright ideas for bright places|
One of the things that foreign friends visiting Spain for the first time never fail to comment on is their surprise at how late Spanish kids stay out playing in the parks during the summer. I usually keep quiet and wait until the next day and let them discover for themselves one of the main reasons for these midnight’s children. After exploring the often deserted old town and surrounding area, we usually venture out into the haphazard new town in search of life. It’s out here in the neighbourhoods of the city that my visitors stumble across their first epiphany. There under the fierce midday sun lies the tired, bleached Swedish plastic that kept the children occupied last night while their parents sat drinking sweaty cañas at tables at a nearby terrace in search of that rare cooling summer breeze. The only shade to be seen is thrown by the swings hanging like the stripped bones of a dead camel sticking out of a cement sand dune. Useless to anyone for long stretches of the day, unless of course you’re looking to avoid the constant electricity hikes and wanted to fry some eggs on the glistening slide. Though it may not feel like it now, we all know that winter passes quickly in this part of the world and when the heat finally comes, it comes to stay. The recently announced upgrade of the Parque de la Concepcion has given me hope that we will no longer have to venture so far out of the old centre of the city in search of the sounds of children’s laughter. If the town hall's intention is to draw people towards the centre, I’ve always wondered why parks like the one in San Juan are solely meant for less than civic dog owners. La Conce, as it's called, needed a change and it can provide strolling families a shady alternative to the sloping sun-baked Plaza Mayor and it’s attached litter box. Now it remains to be seen if some actual thought has gone into the planning or if it is going to be just another archaeological find withering under the summer sun.