Multicolored buildings run up a hill in Old San Juan.

Color is everywhere in the Caribbean. From the water to the sky and everything in between, including buildings. Pastels are better at reflecting sunlight and keeping them cooler. Old San Juan is on hills that run down to the water, interrupted only by the old city walls. Multicolored buildings run up and down the hills, packed as close to each other as possible.

In other places, we might find stairs from the street to the door. Here, the door is level with the street. The floor level just keeps going up a bit as the street rises. The result is a stair step sequence of buildings running up and down the streets interrupted only by much taller buildings. But even then, the floor level follows the pattern of matching the street at the door.

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James Smith