One of the most obvious, visual signs of The Crisis has been the reduction in funds for celebrations. Last year, Lisboa’s Praça do Comércio was draped in gorgeous Christmas lights; this year it was bare. Most of the cities in the Algarve cut their Christmas lighting budgets by at least 50%; in some cases it was 90%. The same thing happened to the New Year’s Eve fireworks displays. In Portimão, the 15-minute display of years past was reduced to a mere 60 seconds. Of course The Crisis has been hitting people much harder in so many ways, but for some reason these more visible signs have been particularly difficult to see.
So it’s nice to know that in other parts of the world, funding for traditional celebrations is still prioritized. The New Year’s Eve fireworks show at Sydney Harbor is one that I have always wanted to see…from a boat, of course. Hopefully wearing shorts, since it’s the middle of summer there, and holding a nice drink in my hand.
(Click the image to blow it up.)