Monday, August 17, 2015


Breakfast was earlier on Day 5 of our San Miguel adventure, for we had to be loaded onto the vans by 9:00 for the outing to Guanajuato, about an hour and a half away. I didn't know much about the place, other than what I'd read in a book written 25 years ago, and was expecting another small town out in the middle of nowhere. Wrong! Actually, it's a good bit larger than San Miguel, and the most "European" city in Mexico, the birth place of Diego Rivera, and home to Teatro Juárez, a gorgeous fin de siècle opera house that hosts international productions (a bit of weenie-wagging on the part of former dictator Diaz).

First stop was this scenic overlook, where tour guide Francisco gave us the lay of the land.

The houses are stacked one atop another, up the sides of the hills, and are even more colorful (if that's possible) than the ones in San Miguel!

Guanajuato is known for its silver mines, so there was a ton of nice silver jewelry available, but I was more interested in this place...

the birthplace of Diego Rivera. Not only did it house many of his paintings and sketches, it also had a huge mural that depicted the entire history of Mexico, from left to right, and the people who influenced it. Our guide Francisco claimed that, though Diego was certainly not a handsome man, he was much like Francisco himself -- irresistible to women!

Lunch was at an elegant place near the town center, with no English on the menus. I recognized the words ceviche and camaron on the appetizer section and pointed to both. Luck was on my side. The ceviche was made with a white fish this time, not quite as yummy as the salmon, but still pretty good. The "camaron" dish was three crusty shrimp tacos with caramelized onions, served on jicama tortillas! Perfect for all you no-carbers. Me, I kinda like my carbs.

It was 6:30 or 7:00 before we finally made it back to the hotel. Luckily, we had a mini-siesta on the bus home. Soon as we had cleaned up, we headed back downstairs to chat up people about dinner recommendations, and to ask the young local girl at the desk to look up the address for that bar we'd been searching for ever since we arrived. She got a funny look on her face when John told her the name, and asked why we wanted to go there. John told her a friend recommended it, and asked if she had been there herself. "No, but I've heard of it. It's just a bar! Where Mexicans go. To drink! You don't want to go there." Actually, yes, he really does. "But. But. It's just not cute!" Not a problem, believe me. She finally handed us the address. No wonder we couldn't find it! John's bozo friend told us the wrong street. It's not on Carreo. It's on Mesones!

So this was dinner.

It's called a molcajete, due to the traditional mortar and pestle bowl it's served in, and I don't really know how to describe it. Just take my word for it. It's not very photogenic, but it is very, very good! Over dinner we came to a conclusion. We'd been on tours with buses and vans and schedules every single day since we got there, and had another full-day outing planned for the following day -- our last day in San Miguel. And, as much as we'd like to see the places they were going to, what we both really, really needed was one entire day with no agenda, free to do as we please. Coming to that decision was like having a load lifted off our shoulders!

Afterwards, we began the trudge up Mesones street, stopping at a couple of shops along the way. At one we asked the owner if he was familiar with El Gato Negro. "Why do you want to go there? It's just a bar." WE KNOW! With a shrug of his shoulders, he directed us further up the street.

At last we found it, and even though I'm not a drinker, they had me hooked as soon as I heard this drifting out over those swinging double doors.

The music only got better from there!


musingegret said...

It's so funny that "hospitality folks" kept attempting to steer y'all away from "just a bar(s)" ---you got to experience true native ambiance! Before I clicked the youtube link I was sure that the music wafting out would be "Eres Tu", one of my favorite Spanish songs!
However, The Doors will always get my ears perked up, LOL.

Anonymous said...

More than just a bar. Ha. Nice tour you've got there with your friends. How fun. xox

Hill Country Hippie said...

Of course, the more they tried to discourage him, the more he wanted to go there! And yes, M.E., I remember Eres Tu well. I lived in a co-op on campus my last two years at UT, and I have a very sharp memory of sitting up on the kitchen counter, singing my little heart out to that song, and begging some of the Spanish speakers to translate it for me.