July 17, 2008

Parque Central, La Ceiba, Honduras

monument to Francisco Morazon, La Ceiba, HondurasGeneral Francisco Morazan,
centerpiece of Parque Central, La Ceiba, Honduras

I have been remiss to not have shown you La Ceiba's Central Park before now. It was always on my mind but I just never got around to it. The poor park has seen better days.

Hondurans like order and it shows in the design of this park. The park is surrounded by a short wall and the entry walkways are like spokes of a wheel leading to the center where there is the large monument shown at the top. The outer walls of the park contain palms and other trees, making it feel a little more secluded from the city.

The La Ceiba park was clean (amazingly no litter!), shady, and orderly. I noticed at least two trash cans in the park. Concrete sidewalks, walls, and high curbs assure that no one will stray off the paths to the areas which formerly held grass − remember, we must have order. The barren formerly grass areas had been recently raked − even dirt must be orderly.

It has square concrete pools that appear to have held water and possibly fountains at one time but no more. La Ceiba has had some water rationing in the past months. Perhaps at certain times of the year, they do fill the pools.

The large square concrete pool which formerly held a crocodile for many years is now empty and dry.

I really felt sorry for that crocodile, all those years laying on a concrete pad with nothing to do, nowhere to go, and probably nothing to eat most of the time. May he rest in peace. This is an old photo of the crocodile from 2000.

There are several concrete benches where people can sit in the shade.

Tall concrete and brick planter boxes hold small trees. The plants are neatly trimmed. In most of the walled off areas, the soil looks powdery and completely lifeless. It has sunk a good foot below the level of the sidewalks.

Most of these areas are completely barren but one or two sections still have grass. I suppose that is because these areas are filled with street vendors two or three times per year for holidays and the Carnival. Not even grass could survive that. The vendors not only spread out their goods on plastic tarps but they also live there in the park for the duration, sometimes up to three or four weeks.

Everything has been neatly painted, probably 50 times or more, including the tree trunks and plant stems. I'm not sure why this is done. I think that a cal (or lime in English) whitewash is supposed to prevent certain insects from climbing the plant. I don't know if latex or oil-based paints have the same effect. Maybe it's just a (old-fashioned) fashion statement.

Look at the gorgeous flowers on this tree trunk! I have no idea what this tree is called but it had some sort of round, brown fruit up higher than I could photograph.

There are several monuments. Of course, Francisco Morazan and Lempira are there. I was in a rush to get the photos before the others arrived and we had to leave. I don't recall all of the names. I was hoping the plaques would show up on the photos. I do remember that most of the monuments were dated in the early 1940's and 50's.

Short concrete columns remain where they were used to block off access to the monuments in the past with chains. I guess that the chains have since been stolen.

It is a nice sized park and people enjoy sitting in the shade of the old, old trees. The park is orderly, but too much concrete gives it an unfriendly feel to me.

I believe that the Siguatepeque and Comayagua parks have been refurbished in recent years and from the pictures (Siguatepeque) and in person (Comayagua), they look quite attractive. I think I remember that the Puerto Cortés park was beautified in 2002. The Tela Park looked nice last year. (Correct me if I'm wrong about any of these.)

I read several months ago that there was some plan to remodel the La Ceiba park. I hope and pray that if they do, the first step will NOT be to cut down the old trees, but I fear that it will be.

As a gardener, I know that soooo much more could be done with the park, and very inexpensively, too. More plants would soften the look of the concrete. Oooh, I'm itching to do that. The problem is that I would need about 20 truckloads of good soil and compost and I'm not sure I could sneak that in.

I had too many photos to post them here, so to see the rest of the park, enjoy the slide show below:

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