Just like when I lived in Honolulu, I have a bad habit of being a hermit. In both cities there is a lot to do outside my front door. My ex-home in Honolulu and my rented apartment here both are so comfortable that I am truly disinclined to go outside. I am forced to head out at least twice a week to buy groceries, but those are short trips. The most I do, is make sure I take the long route to the Mega market to get in my exercise for the day. I am lucky that once a week Rosa comes and tosses me out of my apartment for several hours. This forces me to take long walks and find things to pass the time.
On this day, I had the double motivation of needing groceries and needing to get out of Rosa’s way. I had eaten the last of my fresh food for breakfast, and had no inclination to get something out of the freezer. When I put things I have cooked into the freezer, it is an indication that I am burnt out on them, or I don’t really fancy them. I keep them just in case my laziness overcomes my dislike of the dish.
Very hungry, I set out at a fast pace to find some lunch on the street. I made it down to the main drag before I realized I had forgotten the trash. Rosa will take out the trash if I forget it, but I figure she does such a good job cleaning the place, that I am not going to make her carry the trash down to the main street also. I doubled back and got gathered up the trash before heading out again.
Not long after I dumped the trash bag in the dumpster nearest to my place, I found the first Bug of the Day.
There is a point when I am past the first roundabout, where I veer uphill and make my way into town using less crowded streets. This little plaza is where I often sit and drink champurrado, Which I buy from the lady who has a stand at the roundabout.
Nuevo Bug of the Day
Yes, these window dogs have been photographed before, but I just think they are too cute not to include them again.
I wasn’t in the mood for champurrado on this day. Of course, I haven’t had any since the weather warmed up. I made my way through the back streets to Plaza Baratillo, where my two favorite taco stands are.
At the first stand I opted for a delightful taco con queso with champiñónes. I managed to stop eating long enough to snap a photo half way through.
At the second stand I forgot to take a photo of my quesadilla, completely, though I did manage to take a photo of the ladies making them. Before taking the photo, I asked if it were okay. The man in the back handles the money, so that the hands that prepare the food never touch the money.
After I finished eating, I stopped for a glass of jugo de zanahoria.
I sat on one of the plaza benches, in the sun, being very happy to be who I am and where I was. It was nice to just sit and watch the tourist scurrying back and forth, trying to pack a much as they could into their time in Guanajuato. The number of anglos on the streets and in the parks has greatly increased since the weather became warmer. After finishing my drink, I took a few photos of the plaza, trying to recreate the angle, which the photos I saw at the museum had been taken from. I will use the best one to update the blog post about the museum, after I go back to see the basement. I ended up speaking to a few tourist before heading over to the Teatro Principal de Guanajuato, to photograph it, so that the photo can also be compared the photo taken after the 1905 flood.
That photo didn’t turn out to be as dramatic as the one of the plaza, since the theater had been rebuilt in a very different shape. Since I was well feed, and had time on my hands, I went wandering off, looking for photos ops.
I walked down a street that I had not traveled before. As I looked over the edge of a bridge, I realized that I was on a bridge, which I had photographed when I had walked along the street below.
I kept wandering around trying to to go down streets I recognized until I discovered a park I had never seen before; Jardin Embajadoras.
(The Garden of the Ambassadors)
El Monumento a la Bandera, strangely had no flag on this day
After I left the park via the pedestrian overpass, I wandered up through various streets, enjoying the mild weather.
Eventually I found the baseball stadium. As I was trying to cross the road to get close to the stadium, the traffic was quite heavy. It was a one lane road, so when a taxi stopped to pick up a woman, who looked anglo, I was able to cross. She shot me a look as she was getting into the cab. I grinned and said, “Gracias!” Meaning that I was grateful that her cab had blocked the traffic. She called out, “Where are you going?” I told her that I was just looking at the stadium. It wasn’t until later that I figured out that she thought I was being sarcastic with my thanks because she had snagged a taxi I was after, and was offering to let me share. She must have been from New York. Here it seems like every other car is a taxi.
It seems, at the Estadio José Aguilar y Maya, there is a concession stand that sells tequila. Above, the signs on the windows say “Sun” and “Shadow”. I wonder if that is your choice of tickets?
The local school had murreled walls, which reminded me of the school alongside the river in Cuenca.
With such a long walk, I passed many bugs. I liked this lime green one.
Across the street from this fountain, I ran into a very old man with the smallest chiwawa I have ever seen. “Tu perro es muy lindo,” I said. He held the little dog up on its hind feet, and danced it along the top of a low wall he was leaning on. “Mi perro esta bailando!” he said with a huge grin. I wish I had taken a photo of them, but I was enjoying our interaction so much I didn’t think of it until I was writing this just now. As I passed the old man I found myself stemming the tide of students of all ages who were apparently leaving their various schools for lunch.
I walked and walked. I could see that I was pretty close to the edge of town, by how close the bare hilltops seemed. Finally, I decided that I was good and lost, so I took out my phone and saw that I was pretty close to Carretera Panorámica. I knew that the road would lead me back into centro. As I walked I saw a lot of women leading very small children home for lunch. From time to time I checked my phone to make sure I was in general going the right direction.
I was looking at my phone, probably looking confused when I woman, who was sweeping the street in front of her shop, looked at me and smiled. “Donde esta Carretera Panorámica?” I asked. She pointed up the stairway (below) and told me to go up and go left before taking a right and then another left.
When I got to the top of the stairway I found a dead end. I looked down and the woman was motioning for me to come down a little and then go left. I found my way and and along the way I meet a very friendly yard dog. It is hard to see from the photo, but he was just a puppy. I scratched him through the fence.
Finally I found the Carretera Panorámica, but was unsure exactly which direction to turn to get into town fastest. Both ways would have gotten me there eventually since it is a loop road. I walked a little way in one direction and checked my phone. I was going the wrong way. I turned around and headed the other way for a while before checking again to see if I were indeed going the right way. I was.
The porch dog above, was not friendly at all. He was barking at students heading home for lunch.
There were a lot of big houses along this stretch of the road, with ornate gates. The houses are below the level of the road, with the parking areas on the roofs. One elaborate building had the gate open. I could see an overlook at the back edge of the parking area. I wasn’t sure if the building was a home, hotel, or a restaurant. I couldn’t resist. I walked back to the overlook, as if I belonged there and found that it had a stunning view of the city.
I was able to get back out the gate without having to explain my trespass to anyone. Once out again, I checked my phone and saw that there was a narrow street, which lead straight down to the Cervantes monument. I headed that way rather than taking the longer route. I expect you think another tale of getting lost is coming, but no it took me right where I wanted to go.
I stopped at the Museo Iconográfico del Quijote, where I ran into two anglo women. We spoke for a while about our various travels. One of them looked up my blog on her phone and said she would check it out later. While we were speaking, I learned that the museum was free on Tuesdays, so I decided to save it for another day and continue on.
After stopping to take yet another photo of the Iglesia de San José, I was walked past the Casa del Conde Rul museum and decided to go in. The ticket seller told me that it was okay to take photos, but not in one of the galleries. I thought she had indicated the first gallery to the left as I entered.
It was a stunning neoclassical building. Seeing it alone, was worth the admission price. As usual, I made a dash to the ladies room, to save myself from having to pay five pesos later at the supermarket’s bano. The public restrooms in this town are very very nice, but that comes with an admission fee. I was thinking that it would be nice if someone would start up a business providing paid public restrooms in the Us. Can you imagine what it would be like to be able to go to a clean safe restroom in city parks?.
It turned out that the museum was having a show of contemporary Cuban artists. As I entered the first gallery I ran into my upstairs neighbors. We kind of went through the museum together. I was glad that photos of the artwork was prohibited in the first gallery, because I found the nudes to be disturbing. The video below shows some of the works. The works were huge and the hooded figures were cringeworthy.
The Courtyard of the museum was stunning. The square layout made it easy to keep track of which galleries I had seen. There were only two levels, but the artwork was pretty high quality. As usual, you can’t go very far in this town without seeing some reference to Frida Kahlo. That isn’t surprising since she was married to Guanajuato’s favorite son.
After looking at the first gallery I made my way over to the one to the right as you entered. It was an exhibit of graphic works. I took the photo of the lithograph below before I was warned that this was the one gallery that you couldn’t take photos in. I wish I had waited to take a photo until I saw the Picasso. It was a small one, but I liked it better than any Picasso I have ever seen.
After that gallery I was back to where I could take photos. I decided to only take one photo per artist, as each gallery in the Cuban exhibit featured the works of one artist.
Yaumil Hernandez Gil’s works were all a blend of machinery and the human body. In several of the paintings the machinery had soviet writings on it. I alot of it seemed to be shipboard machinery. The silent video, which follows, shows some of the works I viewed at the museum and some others.
Of the works of Joel Corrales Marguez, I chose to show the image of a bound man on a wrecked ship. I am drawn to images of ships for some reason.
When I saw the painting below, I broke my newly created rule not to have more than one painting per artist. I was so struck by the image of the fat child, laying on a soft blanket, surrounded by toys and the starved boy with nothing, laying on the bare ground.
In the painting above, by Manuel Antonio Alvarez, I was struck to see what looked like rocket launchers filled with flowers and affixed to the classic cars Cuba is so famous for. I wasn’t able to find a video about this artist. I wonder if the flower launchers are aimed at Florida; perhaps towards absent family members?
After I had seen all the Cuban galleries I went into the last gallery which featured a local artist Jesus Gallardo. The paintings there were were a nice quite unchallenging relief after the Cuban paintings.
After leaving the museum, having left my neighbors viewing the last gallery, I noticed a statue, which I must have passes a dozen times. It must be of Diego Rivera. I was hungry again, since several hours had passed since sitting on the curb eating that wonderful street food. I decided it was high time for me to try Dorilocos.
Dorilocos start with a bag of doritos sliced open on the side. It sort of reminds me of the frito pies I used to get as a kid at the snack stand across the road from the school. That is where the similarity ends. The frito pies of my childhood were nothing but a slice of american cheese stuffed into the sliced open back with a scoop of hot canned chilli ladled in.
The Dorilocos I had was made from fiery hot doritos. It was piled high with a lot of things I wasn’t quite sure what they were. I am guessing, cabbage, pickled strips of pig skin, jicama, carrots, cucumber, corn, lime juice, crema, and salsa. You notice that I didn’t say anything about cheese.
As I was digging around in my Dorilocos, I found a game piece, which had been included in the bag of doritos. It looks like I should try again to get a discount on a pizza?
The Dorilocos was wonderful, and very filling. Well fed, I went looking the street stands in centro, which I had been told about by the folks from upstairs. They were set up for Valentine’s day. It seems that Valentine’s Day is a bigger deal here than Christmas.
After wandering around noticing how many things for sale, which had a “Frozen” theme, I glanced at my watch and figured that it was time to head to the grocery store. By the time I did my shopping and walked home, Rosa should be finished with her cleaning. My mouth was on fire from the Dorilocos. I considered getting some ice cream, but wasn’t in the mood for it. When I saw a churro seller, I bought a bag of churros for 10 pesos. The grease and sugar did the trick.
When I got to the store I was still munching on the churros, so I tarried in the plaza in front of the store to finish them.
My ex-husband asked me to pick up a single rose for Valentines Day, and said he would subtract it from what I pay him to be my business manager. The grocery store only sold roses in sets of two, so for a whopping 15 pesos (.75USD) I bought these beautiful symbols of our continuing friendship.
I had planned on going to my favorite restaurant that afternoon, but changed my mind at the Mega market. I bought pasta, capers, and shrimp, intending to make shrimp scampi at home. When I got home I was glad to see that the front door was closed, indicating that Rosa was gone. I realized that I needed to go to the local market for garlic to make the pasta. I was too tired to walk out again, so I fried up some portobello mushrooms and made a mushroom sandwich for my dinner.