Campeche - Outside Centro Historico

Trip Start Dec 27, 2008
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Where I stayed
Hotel Lopez

Flag of Mexico  , Campeche,
Wednesday, January 21, 2009

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First Time Reader? ......here is the background to this series of blogs:
http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/lobo/9/1233502800/tpod.html

Mexico:  23 Destinations to Spend the Winter Months

Campeche 
no. 20 of 23 destinations (this is not a ranking)
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Campeche – Outside the "Centro Historico"
Part 3 of 3
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Real Time Message:

This blog was published in Montreal, PQ on October 10, 2009

It took me the entire year of 2008 to blog the Hawaiian series and it looks like I will need most of 2009 to finish off Mexico.

So what is coming up for 2010?

Driving Canada and the U.S.A. – A Video Blog


Hope I can pull it off as I have 50 hours of video taken during a 23,000 km trip I took in 2008.

That’s the plan but maybe where we go in January 2010 will push the video blog to the back burner.

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Campeche is remarkable for its “centro historico” due to its architectural integrity and homogeneity giving it a look that all fits together. Part of the look is achieved through buried electrical cables, by-laws limiting commercialism, whistle clean streets, level sidewalks, narrow “ersatz’ cobblestone streets achieved by using stamped concrete and of course the fortification recalling by-gone days of invading pirates.

As my last blog illustrated, the city is also remarkable for the beautiful “malecon” stretching along the Gulf of Mexico just on the edge of downtown.

The saying “all good things come in three's” could be applied to Campeche, as the third aspect that is impressive is what I call the “rest of the city”, meaning outside the “centro historico”.

Our first venture outside the walls brought us in contact with a modern hospital, a super store and a beautiful park. That was a good start.

The hospital, Hospital General Dr. Alvero Vidal Vera, was the largest and most modern we had seen in Mexico.

Nearby was a huge church - La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de los Ultimos Dias (Church of the Latter Day Saints or Mormons), striking for its modern design.

Going from the simple life of the Mormons to the excesses of commercialism we were quite impressed by the huge “Mega” store also located not far from the “centro  historico”. Barb and I had fun playing a little game of “what would it cost if we lived here”. The selection was remarkable but then they do have to compete with the suburban megastores. The prices seemed also low except for imported items.

This would be the place to shop if you lived anywhere near the center. Having said that I can’t help but wonder how the existence of this store just outside the walls of the historical center would not have the effect of causing many a small merchant to close their doors. Furthermore if this store didn’t do it, the many big box stores on the outside of the city certainly would have accomplished that task.

From Sam’s Club to many others like Cines Hollywood, McDonalds, Burger King, Buffalo's Grill and Sports Bar, to Office Depot to a Wal-Mart Supercenter most everything is available here to make the ex-pat feel like they are in suburban Arizona.

Walking about the rest of the town also left us with a positive impression. It was all relatively clean, apparently safe and well looked after. The impression is left that Campeche is a city where municipal and state governments have combined to bring about an image that is welcoming to the tourist or long-term stay resident. Perhaps it would be unfair to leave out the federal government as the millions spent on the “malecon” and the restoration of the “centro historico” must include significant federal funds.

Campeche was a revelation insofar that it turned out to be a very pleasant destination that is more or less off the beaten tourist path. Therein lies its chief attraction - it is not overrun with foreigners and yet the Mexican experience is almost devoid of the “Yikes Factor” which we encountered in some destinations.

For an authentic experience it might be great to live in the “centro historico” for its “look”. The narrow streets, Spanish architecture, charm and proximity to everything lure the visitor but apparently there are only three families that live here. (yes, I remain skeptical but that is what we were told).

For much more on Campeche including real estate:

http://www.mexicoguru.com/campeche.php

We are starting to run out of time therefore we will now travel 196 kilometers northeast to our next destination.
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Feedback: travelswithlobo@yahoo.com
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Coming Soon: Merida – A Caribbean Hotbed For Ex-Pats








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