Pouring concrete is the best. I have a friend who is a serious pro and when he starts talking about it, you realize what an art and a science it is. I've had the opportunity to lay a couple of house foundations as well as several smaller jobs and I can tell you there is something quite satisfying about watching it settle and seeing the cream rise to the top. The coolest thing about concrete is that no work is needed to make it level. You do need to flatten it and get a nice texture, but it is simply physics and gravity that gets it all level. There is something truly cool about that. You can also do all kinds of stuff with colours, textures and creative shapes with forms. Another friend of mine designed a really beautiful series of kitchen counters entirely in concrete.
Unfortunately, it is perhaps too efficient at large scales and has basically taken over the residential construction industry, filling cities (like ours) with soulless, cold concrete boxes for living spaces (and the design industry follows suit trying to sell us on minimalism; another gang of scumbags that will be sent to work camps when I take over the world). Finally, the production of concrete is really bad for the environment.
But I digess, back to the local:
How sweet is that! They sprayed the surface with some kind of whitening agent that is supposed to slow down the drying process (concrete sets best at a certain temperature, if it sets too hot or too cold, it weakens the final product). The problem later is that we had our little drawbridge and since the sun didn't shine under it, it left a dark rectangle on our sidewalk! We'll see how it turns out after a winter and some wear and tear.
And no, in the end, we decided against making our mark in the fresh concrete. It just looked so pristine. One of the neighbour kids did his though, which he seemed quite psyched about.