This is Smoke Street

Smoke is a major downtown drag, but it doesn’t seem so in this photo. Of course, the street does not have an English name. The real name is Calle Ahumada, which means not Smoke Street, but Smoked Street, one letter more. I prefer the name with one letter less.

Smoke Street. It has a certain pizzaz, redolent of sin and vice or Comanches cooking  jerky after a hard day on horseback.

Scalping the palefaces. And hauling their women to the teepees.

This is the traditional main drag coming into downtown. You can also get to El Centro by hanging a right on the Libramiento outside Bodega Aurerra, but entering via Smoke Street is more fun.

Smoke Street is not very long, and there is far more vehicular traffic than pedestrians. Before it becomes Smoke Street near where the slaughterhouse once was, it has another name: Lázaro Cárdenas.

And after Smoke Street gets to the Plaza Grande, it becomes something else again, name-wise, but you can get your map out if you want to follow its route past the plaza and up the hill.

Businesses along Smoke are mostly not for tourists. There is the phone company, a beauty parlor, a well-off lawyer, a barber shop. Eateries that foolishly open on Smoke usually go up in smoke.

As you can see, there is no parking on Smoke because it’s too narrow. Folks do it sometimes, crunching the curb, causing problems, but it’s not a viable parking option for more than a minute or two.

There once was an Italian restaurant with a genuine Italian chef. But it shut down years ago. It had really good pasta.

And you can see the unimaginative color scheme, red and white, stamped in the local legal code. I find it boring and prefer the rainbow colors of a place like San Miguel de Allende.

But this is Smoke Street — dressed in red and white.