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Thursday, November 26, 2020

The sunset in Valencia and the city’s decay

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I live near the beach and still try to go there every late afternoon for a short swim in the Mediterranean. The water got much colder this month, but it’s also a lot more refreshing, relaxing my body and mind.

In the summer, due to the temperature and the many algae, I sometimes had the feeling of floating in a giant bowl of Japanese miso soup. Only the tofu was missing!

The sunset is absolutely amazing and the clouds look a little different every time, changing their colors and shapes, stretching into the horizon, giving me a feeling of endlessness.

On the other hand, the city government has had the brilliant idea to build artificial dunes on the part of the beach which lies closest to my flat, allegedly as a protection measure against storm floods.

Huge piles of sand are lying next to the shore. Therefore, I have to walk considerably longer to be able to lay down the few necessary things that I usually carry with me, like a towel, my keys, the mandatory surgical mask and a pair of spare pants.

This makes absolutely no sense in city where the sewage system can’t even cope with occasional short, heavy showers that flood streets and turn not asphalted Third World parking lots into huge morasses.

Though on the way to and back from the seaside many more little details indicate that this area of Valencia in particular has seen better times and the leftist mayor Joan Ribó (born 1947) is setting all the wrong priorities.

The little park in front of my apartment gave me a completely neglected impression since I returned temporarily from Asia in February 2018.

Only in the small sections where two playgrounds (currently locked due to the pandemic) are located, the rotten wooden planks have been replaced-with concrete! Some of the debris has been standing next to them ever since.

Before I could take a picture, the metallic fences that had been blocking the sidewalk next to a refurbished building, forcing me to use the cycle path instead, were removed at last-after more than two years!

They also took the chance to finally cut the weeds that had grown half a meter tall and which gave tourists the impression of visiting a ghost town.

Unfortunately, the abandoned, derelict, Bronx-like old tram stop hasn’t disappeared and continues to be an absolute eyesore.

Some streets are so dirty due to dog shit, strewn garbage, rotting palm fruits and a total lack of sprinkling that I hardly dare to walk on them, not to mention that nowadays they are cleaned very randomly maybe once a week.

Interestingly enough, that often happens on weekends, which adds a surrealistic touch to the fact that there seems to be just one (often female) road sweeper in charge of a very large area.

In times when a lot of people are out of work and soon many citizens will starve because the promised public money didn’t materialize, some recent political decisions can only be considered grotesque.

The completely unnecessary refurbishment of the old city hall square, basically turning it into a traffic-calmed zone now “embellished” with the ugliest concrete flower pots they could find in the whole of Spain makes up a perfect example.

Not to mention that in a region which long ago became world-famous for its beautiful tiles, they have instead chosen huge concrete sewer pipes for almost 760 euros (VAT included) apiece, which ruin the atmosphere of an otherwise very inviting environment.

Now we know why you can’t cross some roads when it rains too much, as some of those tubes were simply somehow misplaced and didn’t end up underground.

Though it still remains unclear why so many funds are being wasted, when the nation is facing the biggest economic crisis since the ending of the Spanish Civil War in 1939.

Nobody knows how many homeless citizens will end up sleeping in the newly opened Central Park, another endlessly delayed prestige object that will probably meet the same fate as many trees and bushes in my neighborhood.

They just shouldn’t expect any effective help from those squandering the little wealth that this country has left. Soon it will be gone with the wind, hopefully like those damned dunes…

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