Category Archives: Oaxaca

Ripples and Nipples

We pointed Oscar towards the coast and snaked our way down the windy road towards Puerto Escondido. It was on this road that for the first time, we saw something remotely dodgy in Mexico. Men in civilian clothes were carrying machine guns, directing traffic and seemed to be inspecting the vehicle of a local farmer, who was laying out an entire cow hide on the road. Luckily, they wanted nothing to do with us and waved us through with a smile.

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We stayed at Puerto Escondido for two nights, hoping for some swell. It would have been awesome to watch the Mexican pipeline and to play around in the smaller breaks. Unfortunately though, there wasn’t much more than a ripple.  It was nice to be back on the coast, even for a short time. We soaked up the sun, sweat out the cold and watched the sun sink below the horizon once again.

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Making Granola.

Making Granola.

Ceviche on the beach-ie. It's been way too long!

Ceviche on the beach-ie. It’s been way too long!

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Ace. We met him and his owner Wilson in Puerto Escondido. They are also traveling to Argentina.

Ace. We met him and his owner Wilson in Puerto Escondido. They are also traveling to Argentina.

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Zipolite was another break nearby that we had heard about so we decided to check it out. I cringed a little when Mark asked a crusty drunk man if he knew of anywhere we could camp. Of course he knew of somewhere, and of course we followed him. His “amigo” had some cabanas on the beach and we were able to pull up right behind them. Zipolite is a chilled out beach, with a definite hippy vibe. Lots of people seem to spend their entire winters here. Clothing is optional.

Mark and his bud. Chatting about surfing and eating Iguanas…tastes like chicken.

Mark and his bud. Chatting about surfing and eating Iguanas…tastes like chicken.

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Mark and Wilson. Time for a paddle.

Mark and Wilson. Time for a paddle.

Beer tastes better on the beach.

Beer tastes better on the beach. CAGUAMA.

The next morning we woke up at sunrise and made breakfast on the beach. It was going to be a long day of driving ahead.

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Whirl Winding Oaxaca

The van limped into Oaxaca. It puttered to a complete stop on a busy road and then wouldn’t start again. After a bit of tinkering and a lot of stressing, all it took was Mark disconnecting and then reconnecting the battery and we were good to go. We made it to the RV park and Mark was able to give everything a closer look. At this point though, the puttering is still a bit of a mystery.

It was funny seeing other gringo tourists again as we wandered the streets of Oaxaca. I guess we’d strayed for a while from the beaten path. Oaxaca is a beautiful city with cobblestone streets, vibrant colours, charming old buildings, bustling markets and shady park benches.

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Our time in Oaxaca was a whirlwind, however it didn’t take long for it to feel somehow familiar.  It was the weekend and we did what we would do on a typical summer weekend in Edmonton. We road around on our bikes, visited our favourite coffee shop, browsed used book stores, went to the farmers market and even watched a bit of sport.

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Doubling (you can't say dinking in Canada, people will laugh at you). I'm the only person in Mexico who doesn't wear a helmet.Doubling (you can’t say dinking in Canada, people will laugh at you). I think I’m the only person in Mexico who wears a helmet.

Mugs and I had a lady date on Sunday, while Mark worked on the van. It was a very different experience to when he’s around. We made a lot more friends. A couple of years ago Mugsie and her sister spent 6 months travelling around Mexico and as we followed our new friends to the mezcal bar Mugsie joked, “welcome to mine and Julie’s life in Mexico”. Real fun. My best Spanish lesson so far. It went something like this. I said, “tengo mierda” which means, “I’m shit”, or directly “I have shit”. Although probably true, I was quietly corrected.  What I meant to say was “tengo miedo”, which means “I’m scared”. You would be too, if a Veterinarian/Shaman just guessed your star sign first try. A little scared and a lot impressed.

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I don’t think any write up on Oaxaca would be complete without mentioning the food. We all agree that the food of inland Mexico is superior to the food that we had on the coast. The tortillas are heartier, the sauces and salsas are tastier, and the prices, for the most part, are lower. Oaxaca was no exception and is considered to be a bit of a food mecca in Mexico. We even treated ourselves to a fancy dinner at Casa Oaxaca Café and had the best Mole Negro so far, along with some Chapulines (grasshopper) quesadillas.

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For me though, I will always remember Oaxaca for it’s cheese. Other areas of Mexico try to recreate it, but nothing compares to the soft salty stringiness of the real deal.

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