Dec 21, 2008 Features / Columnists
The Parrot loves the Christmas season for the many attributes: giving, getting, shopping, cooking and eating. I am not too enthusiastic about the traditional cleaning and finding a parking spot in this the season of hustle and bustle.
The bustle is at times too much for me with plenty people, many of whom are the proud owners of a vehicle, converging on shopping centres to stock up on related items. Over the years many new stores, including malls, were opened, providing a variety of shopping ambience.
This is welcomed, very much so, as shopping here seems to be on par with that of many cities around the world.
Those who have shopped outside of Guyana can attest to the ready availability of items here, as seen on North American television: electronics, clothing (Old Navy is here), furniture, food items and toys, are just a few. A “walk through” in many supermarkets here can bear this out.
The expansion of some local shopping chains and the many new stores that have opened is a clear indication of a growing economy and confidence therein. The rains currently experienced have not seemed to be a deterrent to shoppers.
It appears that the only inconvenience evident is when shoppers are entering the stores and have to manoeuvre over pieces of board and pallets to avoid water. If the City Hall were to do its job effectively then this precarious manoeuvre could have been avoided. That’s a different story.
One development that finds much favour with me is the shopping hours, which for many stores, have been extended beyond the traditional four o’clock period. This is even outside of the Christmas season.
The City Mall and supermarkets have been instrumental in this regard. What it means is that those who work can now shop at their convenience. Night shopping is quickly catching on; this is a norm in North America.
Those entrepreneurs, who have opened stores outside of the main and busy shopping centre in Regent Street, must be commended not only for extended hours, but for making parking a bit easier. Given the large influx of vehicles since 1992, parking does present major frustrations.
Regent Street and areas within that vicinity cannot handle the large volume of traffic associated with shopping, even out of the Christmas season.
This is why stores on the eastern part of Regent Street, Sheriff Street and similar areas are welcomed for vehicle owners. Nothing now makes a driver more pleasant than when he/she can easily find a parking spot.
While the entrepreneurs’ investments have presented us the comfort to shop, parking facilities must be considered for future developments. The principals at the Buddy’s Pool Hall and Night Club had foresight in this regard.
The continuous stream of Christmas shoppers seen over the last few weeks here is testimony to a strong economy. The same cannot be said for many countries, including the United States, which are affected by the global financial crisis.
Thousands of jobs have been lost in the US over the last few months, and currently, its three biggest car manufacturers are hoping for a government bailout to avoid bankruptcy or closure. Here, our economy is expected to grow by some three per cent, indicative of prudent fiscal management.
Over the last sixteen years the economy grew, evident in the thousands of vehicles, homes, businesses, roads and bridges constructed and the many developments within the social sector. This we all must be proud of.
As we celebrate another Christmas, Guyanese, being conscious of the millions across the world who would not be able to do so, must not only savour in this sense of accomplishment, but cannot avoid feeling fortunate to be in a country like this.
While we have our own problems, they are in no way close to the magnitude seen in parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East and even in the United States.
Some of the effects of climate change are being felt here, again in no way close to what other countries have and are currently experiencing. Being resilient and innovative, our people will understand that this is beyond out control and will adapt to facilitate changes necessary.
What clearly hasn’t changed is the way we celebrate this season of goodwill. While much more is now available, the basics remain. The cleaning, the baking, the “putting away” and sharing have been engrained in us.
Last-minute shopping, new curtains, garlic pork, pepper-pot, home made bread, ginger beer, black cake, making “fruit” from “five-finger”, “sponge cake” and rice wine are just a few of the things that have become part of our tradition at this time.
The good neighbourly relation that exists amongst our people is the envy of millions in some parts of the world. This is what makes us who we are.
So I am eagerly looking forward to Christmas morning; ah can’t wait, not only to open my gift and have a family breakfast, but to hear Aunty Patsy, Cousin Mavis, Uncle Ram, Sister Rookmin, Old Pa and not forgetting Sherry, Paula, Balram and noisy Ruben, greeting each other. It never changed, at least not during my life. I never stopped sharing my rum punch and high wine with them. Cheers.
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