This year, B and I made the leap into living in Oaxaca City for the winter. Why Oaxaca? We found in our travels around Mexico that, for us, Oaxaca City has just the right mix of music, cultural events, textile and fiber arts events and a good resource for non-Spanish speakers. We love the city and the people and look forward to several months of living here.
And, yeah sure, the weather is great! Most of the time, it’s sunny and warm, with daytime temps in the mid-70s. It dips down to about 60 or so at night. (The coldest I’ve seen so far is 57F, in the early morning.) The rainy season usually ends in September or early October, but this year we had rain at night until the end of October! Made for a few wet Dia de Muertos evenings!
Life in the city here is like life anywhere: errands, shopping for food and other necessities, keeping house. Because we’re new to the area as temporary residents, we’re immersing ourselves in the local culture and shopping primarily at neighborhood mercados (grocery stores) and tiendas (convenience markets) for things we need, rather than just buying everything at the big box stores. (Yes, there is a Walmart here. And stores similar to Fred Meyer. ) The mercado is like a year-round daily farmer’s market, but under permanent cover. There you can find an amazing array of goods, foods – both prepared and fresh, as well as small lunch counters where you can order some of the most delicious food available in town.
Life here is not just about enjoying summer weather during the winter: there are a lot of things to do, too! We arrived in time for Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), which is a multi-day complex festival honoring deceased loved ones. Tangerine Travels did a video (or several) on it. You can find the videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OEHJdura9I – go here to see these videos – they’re very fun! We were fortunate that the apartment we had for the first two weeks was right in the thick of things in the cultural center of the city – at least twice small parades (“comparsas”) danced right up our narrow street!
We also were nicely surprised that Jordan and Maddie of Tangerine Travels were staying at the same BnB that we were downtown, and we had a great time with them at an early dinner after they’d finished filming footage for their Dia de Muertos videos. They did a video that also showed viewers around the BnB – nicely done and really gives a flavor of the neighborhood.
One of our favorite resources for English speakers is the Oaxaca Lending Library. This is not just a 20,000-volume library of English and Spanish books, periodicals, and videos, this is a community meeting place and embarcation point for tours, hikes, and lots of activities in the area. We’ve met a number of interesting people here already – some that live here full-time and many “snowbirds” – and enjoy spending time here.
What more can I say about Oaxaca? Volumes! But this is just a taste of why this is our “Casa Sur”.