An Adult Perspective of Assou Square
Yes, we will never go back to the days when children received a 50 cents spending allowance and returned home with stomachs filled with apples and sodas, and their arms full of toys. That was just about fifty years ago, I am assured, when Columbus Square was flooded with toddler excitement. I, for one, miss very much the Assou Square I knew as a child, and I am in my twenties.
Of course I was always acccompanied by my parents. And that might well be the reason I felt so vulnerable as I made the rounds on my own at the most recent Assou Square. The almost daily reports of crime at high noon have not helped. Almost every step tangled me with some young man with a baseball cap, a glass of alcohol and a silly pickup line. There was comfort in seeing police officers all around. I think I even saw the police commissioner in the distance.
Still Assou Square remains no place for children or lone females. As I wandered around with professional intent (I mean as a reporter!) among the milling hundreds I was especially carefully when I took out my cellphone and camera.
With icky body odour mixed with the smell of alcohol fresh and stale, I remembered the special delights of Assou Square past. Now it seemed only the nonstop imbibers of alcohol mattered. I lost count of the number of stumbling men.
A long time ago my big brother made me listen to Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), a speech on Baz Luhrmann's 1988 music album. One line that always stuck with me goes: “You too will get old, and when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable.” I'm not yet old but the prices at Assou Square were certainly no fantasy; they were anything but reasonable!
I got the green cotton candy I came for, after forking out three coins for a barely there serving. I also wanted a tiara, but all the options were just plain too ugly and similar, not nearly flashy enough for the price demanded. All around me little children were crying. Who knows whether the odours were too much for their lungs or whether their mothers could not afford to feed them at the square?
There was a crowded bouncy castle that looked quite dangerous. I saw the smallest toys amazingly priced at $15. The especially lucky kids would get just one, most would return home empty-handed, despite that their main reason for going to Assou Square was, as was mine in another time, “to get a lotta toys”. Some of the disappointed may have travelled on an overheated bus all the way from Dennery. Imagine what that can do to a kid!
No need to get into the wild gyrations by adults on all fours in the middle of the road. The videos are all over social media.The mayor of Castries promised last year a less raunchy Assou Square in 2018. The aforementioned videos will help him decide if he delivered on his promise.
Flashing lights and tasty food is what Assou Square is all about, but more adult entertainment may have taken over.