Neighborhood sights in Cuba
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Santiago's old French quarter was first settled by colonists from Haiti in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Set on a south-facing hillside overlooking the shimmering harbor, its red-tiled roofs and hidden patios are a tranquil haven these days, with old men pushing around dominoes and ebullient kids playing stickball amid pink splashes of bougainvillea. The century-old Padre Pico steps, cut into the steepest part of Calle Padre Pico, stand at the neighborhood's gateway.
Bayamo's main shopping street is officially known as Calle General García, but no one calls it that. In the late 1990s it was pedestrianized and reconfigured with funky murals and lampposts posing as trees and paint tubes. It's a great place to observe the nuances of everyday Bayamo life. Halfway along its course you'll find the tiny Museo de Cera, Bayamo's version of Madame Tussaud's, with convincing waxworks of personalities such as Polo Montañez, Benny Moré and local hero Carlos Puebla. Next door the equally tiny Museo de Arqueología is worth a 10 minute once-over.