For those who follow my blog you would have noticed that I have not been around lately. Due to some affairs that I have had to deal with I have been in Carolina, Puerto Rico for the past three weeks. It has been a revelation to say the least. Apart from re-uniting with old friends I was able to see first hand the effects of modernization that have been taking place not only in Carolina but in many towns around the island.
A strolled south down route 874, the main road into Carolina from the Villa Carolina area was in essence a stroll through devastation left by the rush towards modernization. I dread to think of the millions that have been spent on this ongoing project not to mention some of the idiocy involved in the planning. It appears that Carolina is in a desperate rush to appear as modern as it can afford, or go into debt to keep up with the Jones! To be honest Carolina is not the only town involved in this maniacal plunge towards modernization at the cost of all else. Surrounding towns have been involved in this same project. Whole communities have been wiped out in order to make room for the new. The days of strolling through the vibrant town plaza on a Sunday morning are gone forever! I strolled through the plaza on a Sunday morning and all I saw were the empty stores, an ever present testament to the ongoing economic crisis that the politicians both local and stateside still refuse to call it what it is, an economic depression! I guess time will prove me correct.
Whole communities have and will continue to be wiped out as these various construction projects continue to swallow up huge tracts of land. A ride through the nearby communities going towards Rolling Hills And Metropolis was the evidence of the expansion. Whole, enclosed communities are popping up where ever the eye could gaze. I could not believe the changes I saw. Always the gnawing question at the back of my mind, where have they forced the inhabitants to move? Who are these communities for, certainly not the local inhabitants? A friend told me that they were planning on making a Golf course somewhere east of 874 just beyond Villa Carolina and before the raceway. A Golf Course!!! Who the hell plays golf in Carolina? Who are all these projects meant to impress? It is interesting to note that while all these projects have been going full steam ahead the Lago Blasina Caserio has still not been totally renovated and that project has been going on for years!!! The complaint there was that there were no funds yet how many hundreds of thousands have been spent in the numerous fountains that seem to clog each intersection in Carolina? How much was spent in the numerous bronze sculptures that seem to be everywhere? One of the many complaints I heard was of the fountain topped by a huge sculpture of Roberto Clemente right at the intersection of Monserrate and Roberto Clemente! This intersection was a nightmare before this now it goes beyond that at the grid lock hours in the mornings and evenings.
I feel sorry for all of those people that have been bypassed by this supposed modernization. The lives and memories that have been crushed and destroyed and those that are yet to come. I wonder about all of this especially during a time when the nation, the U.S., is in the grips of an economic depression. Would not this money be betters spent helping the people deal with this crushing economy? I was told that a number of the supermarkets have closed down and now you might have to go farther to get your food. Pitusa and Conchita are gone. I did not get to go to the Plaza Carolina Mall but after having gone to the mall in Bayamón last week and having seen the number of store closures I would not be surprised if Plaza Carolina is going through the same experience. I know that during my various rides throughout Carolina I noticed that many of the businesses that were there in the past are not gone. No doubt many of those big car Auto Dealers will be next!
All in all the whole experience reminded me of the plight of the Tahitians as well as the Hawaiian’s or maybe Milton‘s epic Paradise Lost.