Urban Regeneration Slim Style

A long stroll around the Centro Historico can reveal so much about the city. Beautiful colonial buildings, well maintained and open for visitors. Ancient ruins preserved for the tourists. Glitz and glamour as new constructions cater for the wealthy. And decaying streets of fabulous colonial buildings with peeling paint, a feeling of a long lost age and seemingly little in the way of money to revitalise the area.

Last year on a few of my forays around the Pino Suarez area (great place to buy a buy or rent a hooker of dubious quality) I noticed streets being dug up. Totally dug up. The results are now available for inspection. Pedestrianised streets, fresh paint and an injection of new business.

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At the weekend we strolled around the area from Isabel la Catolica. Named after a metro station. Or maybe the grand old church. Who’s to say. It was clean, safe, lively and as night fell the bands came out. Rock and Roll, a little Jazz and one of the finest mariachi bands I’ve heard. The tables spilled out from the bars and restaurants into the streets, and everyone was full.

There was even a costume clad band of knights and maidens, and about 50 happy cyclists, of the pedal variety stopped by for refreshment. It was a very pleasant way to spend the evening.

There are lots more streets needing Carlos Slim’s magic wand. Mr Slim being at least partly responsible for the cash injection here. I hope they manage to retain the tradition and little shops that exist, as they have, for the large part, here.

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