Mexico City gets a bad rap. That it’s dirty and dangerous and not the first place you think of when you hear the word “vacay”. So when Michael found a steal of a round-trip flight deal and had enough credit card reward points to book a free hotel stay, my initial reaction was “yay!” mixed with a dose of trepidation. It didn’t help when a co-worker warned me not to get abducted since Mexico City was known for kidnappings. So I approached the trip with an open mind but low expectations.
I wasn’t sure how Mexico City would greet me when I stepped off the plane but let me tell you, all preconceived notions were blown completely and utterly away when we arrived in the Colonia Roma district. The old charm of the neighborhood reminded me of San Telmo in Buenos Aires. The clean streets with their old-world charm and blooming flowers, the atmosphere hip and languid, the architecture quaint and picturesque. Corner street vendors grilled pork, and beef, and chicken for self-assembled tacos which were mouth-watering and cost pennies. The coffee shops, bakeries, and bars that flanked the streets beguiled you with their offerings. European in feel, I was delighted to find freshly-baked breads and local Mexican wines. Once I spotted my first bakery and found a local Pinot Noir on a restaurant menu, I knew the Carb Monster was well on her way to having a delightful trip.
Since many of the countries I’ve traveled to have rice as their staple carb, with bread either non-existent or not a common menu item, whenever I find a complimentary bread basket served, I turn into a bread hoarder. When the waitress isn’t looking, I wrap bread rolls in napkins and squirrel them away in my purse to have as snacks for later. That’s also why I carry a big purse when I travel – more room for my secret bread stash.
So it came as no surprise that when the restaurant Michael and I went to for breakfast parrillada and chilaquiles, Los Bisquets Bisquets Obregon, served up a bread basket, my hands instinctively started to unzip my purse and unfold the napkins to swaddle each of the three freshly-baked bread rolls before stashing them inside my cavernous purse. Two minutes after placing the bread basket on our table, our waitress did a double take as she eyed the empty bread basket.
“Mas pan?” she asked incredulously.
“Si!” I beamed at my bread dealer.
This exchange was repeated once more before my purse was bulging with bread and I was as happy as a clam with my provisions.
Full from a delicious meal, with my bread swaying merrily by my side, Michael and I made our way to the Museo del Templo Mayor to check out the open-air archeological ruins in the heart of Mexico City.
And this is when the unthinkable happened. As we made our way to the entrance, a security guard asked to inspect my purse before entering the museum. First he spotted the water bottle I was carrying and informed me that water was not allowed inside and that I would need to get rid of it before proceeding. This was common enough and I obliged. He waved me through to the next security guard. This one performed a more thorough search of my bag and when her eyes landed on my nine individually-wrapped bread rolls, she gave me a strange look before informing me that food was not allowed on the premises and I had to throw out the bread.
Shit hit the fan. I regressed into a two year old throwing a temper tantrum. Get rid of my pilfered bread rolls? The freshly-baked, still warm, crusty on the outside yet fluffy on the inside ovals of goodness? The bread that I had to surreptitiously wrap in napkins and hide in my purse? The bread that I planned to snack on as I meandered through Mexico City’s streets, admiring the architecture? The precious carbs that I am unapologetically addicted to and I’m sure trigger my brain to release massive amounts of serotonin to flood my system when I take a bite? You want me to throw this out? Unacceptable!
Stomping my foot, I narrowed my eyes at this harmless security guard just doing her job and leveled her with a supercilious gaze before showering her with my whining.
“What is the harm of me bringing crusty bread rolls into a museum? What am I going to do, graffiti the art with carbs? It’s just bread! Flour and water! Let me in, dammit!”
This is when Michael had to become the disciplinarian parent and rein in his fiancée experiencing a bout of the Terrible Twos.
“Please stop being an entitled tourist. We can get you more bread. It’s not like you paid for it anyways.”
“It’s the principle of the matter, Michael! It’s bread.”
And bread is life.