I didn’t sleep very well last night, I really don’t know why. When I got up this morning I had a message from the apartment owner asking if Rosa could come a day early. My first reaction was to say that I wasn’t feeling well, and really didn’t want go out. Then I remembered that the apartment owner is dealing with her husband being very ill, so I texted back that today would be fine.
I had to rush around and clean up the place. Yes, I am one of those people who clean before the cleaning lady comes! I had just finished up before it was time to head out. I had to make a detour to the supermarket to use their restroom on the way the plaza, with my favorite food vendors. Because of that detour, I got lost, and had to pull out Google Maps to find my way. Luckily the fountain in the plaza is on the map, since I never can remember the name of the plaza. By the time I got to the plaza, I was really hungry.
At the first place, I ordered a gordita with beans and cheese. I didn’t take a photo today, not even one with it half eaten, because I got into a conversation with a lady visiting from Belgium. She was quite surprised that I not only knew that Belgium was a real place, and not just a place made up by Agatha Christie to have her hero to come from, but that I had traveled there several times for work. I told her how I had been there a couple of times working with an englishman, a spaniard, a portugee, and a german. (That sounds like the start of a joke. An american, an englishman, a spaniard, a portugee, and a german, walk into an Antwerpen restaurant …) It was actually a lot of fun. The englishman spoke flemish; the waiter spoke french and flemish, the spaniard spoke english and portuguese; the german spoke english; I spoke simple functional spanish: the portugee only spoke portuguese. With everyone translating for everyone else, we did pretty well.
After I finished my conversation with the belgium lady, I headed over to my second food vendor. As I was waiting my turn I saw a sandwich (torta) being made on the plancha. It looked great, so when it became my turn I pointed at the woman heading down the street with her sandwich and said, “Una torta misma.” The cook grinned and started to make the same torta again, asking me if I wanted each ingredient before she put them on.
This is the vendor who has low stools for you sit while you eat. When I sat down with my sandwich the gentleman sitting next to me warned me that the fire pit of the plancha was hot. I smiled at him and said, “Si muy caliente!” as I turned me knees away from the hot area, so he wouldn’t worry. I didn’t have enough spanish to explain that I ate there all the time and knew about the fire. That torta was wonderful, but messy. It had chicken mole, beens, cheese and green salsa.
After I finished and paid, I headed around the corner and bought a carrot juice, which also didn’t get photographed because I got into a conversation with a couple of americans. When they found out that I had been living here for a while, they asked me which museums they should go to. I recommended the ones that I had gone to so far. After saying goodbye to the americans, I found a bench to sit and drink my carrot juice. Once I had finished my juice, I went in search of the museum I had chosen to visit this week.
When I arrived at what Google told me was the Museo del Pueblo de Guanajuato (Museum of the People of Guanajuato), I stuck my head through the door and asked if it was the museo. I have Learned not to completely trust Google outside the US. Don’t get me wrong Google maps is a f-ing miracle, but you need to double check the directions in towns with random street layouts.
As I was paying for my entrance ticket I glanced behind me and saw a man who looked for the life of me like a wingnut mariner I once knew in Honolulu. The guy in Hono had looked so ragged that he was once rousted out of the K-mart because they thought he was one of the guys from the homeless shelter across the street. My initial reaction to seeing this guy standing in the museum doorway, was to bolt. Then I saw his very respectable looking wife.
The museum turned out to be another contemporary art museum. There was only one gallery, which couldn’t be photographed. This time I checked with the guard at each gallery before taking photos. I crossed paths with the couple several times throughout the museum.
Of all the artwork I saw today, the works of Dionel Delgado impressed me the most. These canvases were huge. They all showed magazine covers which showed Cuban children’s dreams of going to the US. I wasn’t able to decide between photographing Time or Life, so I did both.
Just before I left the museum I ran into the couple I had meet at the door. The husband commented that he was surprised at how much contemporary art was in the town’s museums. He asked me what museums I would recommend. I told them about the ones I had seen so far. (This reminds me of when I lived in Boston and used to chat up tourist around town on my days off from work. Often I would end up with a very nice meal for acting as an unofficial tour guide. I haven’t managed to cage any meals here. Not that I tried.)
The couple told me that they had passed up the Museo Iconográfico del Quijote, because they thought that it was just a tourist trap. I told them the story about how the young boy in the concentration camp had been given a copy of Don Quijote, and how when he became rich he bought or commissioned a huge body of art based on the legend, eventually making his collection into a museum. I told them that I too had thought it was a tourist trap, and wouldn’t have gone if I hadn’t gone on a free day. I assured them that now that I had seen it I would be glad to pay next time. They found the story intreeing and said they would check it out.
After the museum I went wandering around the Mercado Hidalgo, looking for the vendor who had sold me the wonderful pistachio ice cream before. I had noticed that he had nuez ice cream. I couldn’t find him but I found a similar stand manned by a much younger man. As he was scooping up my cup of ice cream, I noticed that the sign on his umbrella showed nuez ice cream illustrated by a photo of pecans. My spanish lesson had illustrated nuez with a photo of a walnut. Of course I looked it up later and found that nuez just means NUT. That was okay since I love them both.
After I bought the ice cream, I found a bench not far away, and sat in the sun enjoying my treat. This one was even better than the week before. This wasn’t ice milk, it was true ice cream. There is something very decadent about sitting in the mexican sunshine eating ice cream knowing that I don’t have to ever go looking for a ship ever again. When I finished I walked through a section of street vendors looking for a trash bin. I walked past a stand where a lot of local women were buying shrimp. The shrimp looked much nicer than the ones I bought at the store the day before and the price is lower. I will have to go buy some there before I leave Guanajuato.
After depositing the cup and spoon in a bin I made my way down the street to the market. Yesterday when I made my shrimp scampi again, I didn’t realize until the pasta was on my plate that I had no cheese. No cheese that would be good on scampi, that is. I ate it anyway, but saved back half so that I could get some cheese today. It was hot today, so by the time I got home with my groceries I was very tired. It probably wasn’t a good idea to drink a beer on such an empty stomach, but I did, then went to bed.
I slept for a while and was really hungry when I woke up. When I went to the refrigerator to get the scampi out, I noticed that I had some fried mushrooms and onions left over from making sandwiches the other day. There was also some goat cheese that needed to be used before it went bad. I chipped up the vegetables and mixed in the cheese to make a paste for a sandwich. I added some fresh garlic and soya. It turned out really well. I will have the scampi, with cheese this time, for my next meal.