Monday, August 10, 2009
That’s it – it’s definite! The America’s Cup is NOT coming back to Valencia. (Although there’s always a small voice somewhere from the Town Hall that says, “Well, it might just if…and then gives a fairy tale list of if, buts and maybes that will never – but never happen.)
Which leaves us with the question, “What are we going to do with the beautiful white elephant that is the Puerto Americas Cup?”
This multi-million euro drain on the public purse had a brief couple of months of glory in 2007 and has since stood all but deserted. On the cusp of the Formula 1 event, whose track runs through the port, the only people in attendance were a team of cleaners washing down the enormous windows of Veles i Vents, the once posh VIP centre for the Americas Cup, now looking sad and dejected – but clean! A few workmen are tarting up the cafés and restaurants, but broken plant holders and streaked paint give off an air of neglect.
At five minutes before two on a Friday lunchtime (07 August - 3weeks before F1), when restaurants would normally be filling up, the staff at elegant Arribar set out on the terrace over forty tables, each with four chairs, with half as many again inside – with not one customer. Throughout the chi-chi area not one member of the general public moves, sits down to lunch or even takes a beer.
Weeds grow through the slats of the wooden seats built for people to watch the Cup races on enormous TV screens. It’s a perfect place to have an open air cinema, under the stars, with a cooling breeze blowing off the Med, but the Town Hall doesn’t seem to have thought of that, or thought of anything else to do with enormous area of big venue spaces, open air walkways, fancy bars and restaurants – it even has its own Victorian bandstand. But there’s no sign of the floating golf course we’ve been promised – at least we can be grateful for something!
So, wanted, an astute, inventive, far-sighted entrepreneur, with ideas, plenty of money and an ability to deal with a lot of bureaucratic plonkers.
words and images ©2009 Derek Workman