San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

A Case of Mistaken Obituary

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,”Mark Twain once said upon learning that his obituary was mistakenly published in the New York Journal.

The same could now be said for the colonial city of Granada, which was all but pronounced dead Nov. 7 in a front-page story of the daily La Prensa. While readers can only speculate as to what the newspaper’s intentions were in reporting Granada’s demise, the truth is quite the opposite.

In fact, Granada’s future is looking a lot brighter these days, both literally and figuratively.

The blue skies are finally starting to elbow out the rain clouds that have squatted over Nicaragua for the last two months, and – as if sync with nature – power distributor Unión Fenosa has recently lifted the daily blackouts that have plagued the city for the better part of two years.

While there have been some stiff odds to growth this past year – power and water rationings, a bankrupt municipal government and slowing real estate and tourism markets – it is now safe to say that Granada’s “darkest days” have come to an end.

And incredibly enough, Granada – like a begonia – has managed to flower without much light.

In the first 10 months of this year, 542 new businesses opened in Granada for a 6% overall growth in the number of businesses here – a remarkable feat considering the obstacles to doing businesses.

While some corner stores and a half-hearted “supermarket” closed, the new businesses that opened – hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes – represent the future of the city’s tourism economy. On the Central Park, new cafes and bars are doing brisk businesses, and east of the park the newly remodeled pedestrian walkway on La Calzada has become the new “zona viva,” with new restaurants and bars filling the sidewalks with outdoor seating.

On Sunday afternoons, the city swells with Managua tourists who pack the restaurants and fight over tables. And construction is already under way for a new La Colonia supermarket and the city’s first-ever commercial center.

Indeed, this is hardly a city that is whimpering in a roadside ditch waiting to die.

Granada over the years has survived worse onslaughts from pirates and mercenary armies, and has managed to bounce back stronger every time. In the distant future, the problems of this past year will probably be remembered quaintly, as just another moment in history when Granada refused to fall.

You don’t get the honors of being the oldest colonial city in the continental Americas without being a survivor.


Comments are closed.