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Day 213 – The Colors (Guanajuato)

May 11, 2011

Location: Guanajuato, Mexico

Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I’ve arrived in Guanajuato, mountain town in the middle of Mexico. I’ll be here for a few days so I’ll hold off on the history and the sights for a bit and save that for the end. For now, a few first impressions (including my first taste of something called a pambazo).

The town is colorful. Houses run up and down the hillsides and are painted an array of colors. Some might call it garish and I might agree if only one house were painted fusia. The difference here is that everyone’s gotten in on the act. The colors enliven what otherwise might be a drab collection of concrete buildings.

In fact, the array of colors seems to reflect the town’s university sensibility. There’s an energy here because Universidad de Guanajuato attracts students from around Mexico and the world. There are packs of Scandinavian, Japanese, and Korean students here alongside Mexicanos of all stripes from around the country.

The city has been spared HOA’s, oppressive building codes, and activist groups that think it’s their business what color you paint your home. We’re talking real freedom here. The city is not trying to emulate Rome or Paris. It’s not letting other people’s ideas of what’s tasteful keep it from pushing ocular boundaries. It’s headed out on its own. It’s let its residents create their own style. Those residents have chosen color. Eyeball searing, in your face, a-rainbow-vomited-on-a-box-of-highlighters array of colors. Tasteless.

And the world’s a better place for it.

I Put It in My Mouth – A sometimes feature on food told with at least one picture

I’m accustomed to ordering things off the menu that I don’t understand; occasionally this works out deliciously like it did today when I ordered a pambazo. One of Mexicos huge variety of antojitos (street snacks), this baby was a meal on its own.

Pambazo is white bread dipped in red guajillo pepper sauce then filled with chorizo, cheese, lettuce, and potatoes. The red pepper gives the bread a distinct reddish-orange color and gives the sandwich bite. It’s hard to imagine eating this with your hands because the pepper sauce is so messy. I opted for a fork.

For whatever reason, chorizo in Mexico tastes better than the stuff at home. So does the bread. Dipping a chorizo sandwich in pepper sauce is genius. If someone could figure out how to reproduce this in California, they’d sweep the state like the Vietnamese sandwich did a few years back.

GALLERY: More pictures of houses. Really.

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