– Why, in a city of this size are there so many banks? They are everywhere, and they are usually crazy busy with people and long lines. Is there really THAT much banking that people need to do? Or is it just that the internet isn’t caught on enough here for people to take care of most of that online?
– There are a LOT of cake and pastry shops here as well
– Like several other colonial cities I have been to that are laid out on a grid (Merida, Campeche, etc), there is a strange game of traffic chicken that takes place at every intersection. All the cars honk as they approch the intersection and none seem to have the right of way. To say nothing of the pedestrians scrambling to avoid being hit.
This place reminds me a LOT of Campeche in Mexico. The style of a lot of the architecture is strikingly similar, the buildings are likewise painted colorfully, and the general sense is of a never extremely wealthy city.
As long as we are into comparisons of places I have been in the last few days, let’s take the two colonial cities of the Yucatan, Merida and Campeche. There are a great number of similarities in the architecture and layout of these cities. Merida is much larger, and is interesting to walk around, but Campeche is much better taken care of. Perhaps this is due to its UNESCO world heritage status or that the state oil company, PEMEX drills just offshore and showers the city with money. Whatever the cause, Merida seems rundown and kind of sad, whereas Campeche has numerous fine public spaces that are very well maintained and a bevy of historic buildings in the center that are perfectly restored or at least very well painted and taken care of. Campeche also has a great waterfront going for it, whereas Merida is land-locked.