Grape leaves in Guanajuato

barnew
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.
city
Guanajuato from on high. In color, of course.