Grape leaves in Guanajuato

The bar in the Teatro Juarez where Porfirio Díaz once imbibed. Set ’em up, José.

WE RETURNED from Guanajuato yesterday evening. We fled there Saturday to escape Carnival in our hardscrabble barrio where the natives go berserk.

It’s so bad during Carnival — also called Mardi Gras elsewhere — that a high, chicken-wire fence is erected around parts of our neighborhood plaza to keep drunks corralled.

Chicken wire. So we hightail it out of town.

Though Guanajuato is only about three hours away from our Hacienda, it was just my fourth visit, and the first in over a decade. My initial visit was in the mid-1980s with my second ex-wife. We made the obligatory trip to see the mummies who were stacked up against the walls in a carefree manner. Absolutely lovely.

Flash forward about two decades, which was my 2002 honeymoon. I returned to the mummies, but the exhibit had been sanitized. The corpses were behind climate-controlled glass cases. Most of the grotesquery had been eliminated. Damn shame.

We did not revisit the mummies during this trip.

This week we stayed in a great hotel directly downtown because we did not drive the Honda. Driving in the middle of Guanajuato is a nightmare, which is why I had not visited in a long time. The streets are narrow, bend all over the place and often vanish into ancient, underground tunnels. So we traveled by bus.

Visit highlights included dining at a Vietnamese restaurant, something that cannot be found even in our nearby capital city. I love pho. There was also an Arabic restaurant where we enjoyed stuffed grape leaves, pita bread and hummus! Yum.

Guanajuato is hyper-touristy, very different from my initial visit in the 1980s. Especially on Sunday, I felt like I was in Venice, Italy, due to the horrendous mobs of people. It improved on Monday and Tuesday, but not all that much.

It’s a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there, even for Vietnamese pho and stuffed, Mohammedan grape leaves. It’s good to be home again.

Some of the chicken wire is still up, but the drunks have been carted away.

Morgue, jail, home. Who knows?

Ms. bones
In case you missed them at the mummy museum.
Guanajuato from on high. In color, of course.

19 thoughts on “Grape leaves in Guanajuato

  1. This Wuhan virus is popping up everywhere. You would have done better to just stayed at home and forted up your compound. Avoid crowds and keep that mask on. This is not going to be nice.


  2. I see that now it is in Lagos, Nigeria. I have read that the virus is in fecal matter also. This would seem to indicate that those cultures that use the left hand rather than toilet tissue will have a worse time with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How interesting that you escaped to Guanajuato. You probably crossed paths with my friend who lives in Ajijic, and a good mutual friend from San Francisco who is staying with her. They were there probably at the same time as you.

    I too love Guanajuato, though it’s been more than 10 years since I’ve been there. Aside from all the colonial loveliness, I have very clear memories of all those old, unfinished mining tunnels now used as streets, illuminated by erratic strings of carelessly strung, household light bulbs. ¡Viva México, Cabrones!


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we’d love to be in Mexico, but are now somewhat afraid of traveling due to coronavirus.


    1. Señor Cotton: Sometimes you just gotta roll your eyeballs at the locals. That is absurd. However, once we fled here for Carnival, returning on Ash Wednesday thinking the uproar would have ended. But no! Another roof-raising concert on the plaza on the night of Ash Wednesday. They should all have been excommunicated. That only happened one year. Someone must have read them the religious riot act.


    1. Brent: I think the nonstop celebrations are to distract the locals from the fact that their lifestyle is detrimental to progress.

      Yes, I saw that Corona beer nonsense. Ay, Gringos!

      As for coronavirus, I saw an article this morning from the New England Journal of Medicine. It said that coronavirus is very unlikely to kill you, that the mortality rate is 1-2 percent. However, it is highly contagious and there is currently no vaccine. Bottom line is that we are worrying way too much.

      The Israelis say they’ll have a vaccine in about two weeks, and the Jews are smart. Let us pray so.


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