|Cathedral de Barichara at night New Year's Eve 2013|
Riding a motorcycle was really hazardous because the visitors were unaccustomed to the narrow streets and seldom looked before opening their doors to see if anyone was passing. I gave up riding altogether because I did not want to either be the cause or effect of this crowding.
|Old Year is burned while rockets are launched.|
The over 30-minute firework display was impressive and very loud as rockets and display fireworks were set off near the Cathedral. The burning of the Old Year (in effigy) must have been watched by over 2,000 people around the square, young and old.
In previous years I have enjoyed the display from La Loma, but for various reasons that was not where I ended up. And after days of early morning explosions, late night booms and blasts, it was my fervent hope that this culmination of light and noise would bring some peace and quiet back to this Andean village.
|An explosion of fireworks over the parque in Barichara.|
I am sure a lot of people really enjoyed their visit here (and were respectful of this national heritage), and the merchants most certainly benefitted from a vacation period where people were buying things, going to the restaurants and markets, using the taxis, enjoying the recreational resources and musicians were in great demand for all the nightly dances. This definitely was a happening place for the past three weeks, but it is also clear that many of the locals are burned out with the pressure to provide services, often from very early in the day until quite late at night.
Why bring this up? Because it means that the popularity of Barichara may be its undoing unless the mayor and other civic leaders address the challenges of growth. In the past year I can see lots of new houses being constructed and while this does bring employment to many, it also creates enormous dissatisfaction among those who were promised a chance to have a small casa in the proposed barrio to the south, but after two years the development seems to have stalled.
No one wants this colonial village to maintain its quaintness and specialness more than I do. And a couple of ideas I have I think will help to do that. Here they are:
1) During holiday weekends and special events like Feria, eliminate parking in the central park area and provide small bussettas to transport people from the designated parking areas into the central part of town.
2) Establish a fine for defacing any building or walls anywhere in the village and post notices which warn people of the consequences if they are caught. Enforce those fines and after a few serious enforcements including posting a notice of the names of people who were fined in a public place, it may have the desired effect of causing people to at least think twice before gouging their messages into the walls.
3) Limit use of fireworks to specific days and times so that people can be sure of having good sleep.
4) Make the public toilets available, post information about where they are and keep them maintained.
5) Put out more trash containers and post requests for people to use them; if possible have recyclable and paper trash division.
|Central parque of Barichara during Navidad 2012.|
For me, no resolutions this year - just continuing to offer intentional support where it is needed.