We arrived in Oaxaca in the early afternoon, just as the traffic started to pick up. We parked in a vanping spot we found online which was in a small square in town. It seemed a little busy for those who were trying to vanp unnoticed and appreciate a quiet night’s sleep, so we decided to take a walk around town and come back later that evening to find an alternative spot.
The old town of Oaxaca is flat and very beautiful, lined with colourful and inviting shops and restaurants. We stumbled on one of the main markets in town and as it was nearing dinner time, decided to grab something to eat. Anita tried her very first Oaxacan tlayuda, a type of crispy round flat bread topped with such things as refried beans, vegetables and Oaxacan cheese. It was there that we also found “meat alley”, a corridor of smokey charcoal barbeques grilling up your choice of tender meats. We were already full from dinner so agreed we’d return for the next day’s lunch, then returned back to the van and found a quiet and well located alternative spot for the night.
It was a few hours into our sleep that Anita and I woke to a knock on the van. We immediately froze and remained silent as we didn’t want it known that we were sleeping in the back. Seconds later a camera flash went off at what we could only guess was our rear number plate. We looked at each other anxiously, hoping it wasn’t a police officer gathering information for a fine. Moments later our unidentified visitor lent on Fuego and started making phone calls in Spanish. Our anxiety grew even more so as we could hear a number of new voices slowly arriving. Was it the police calling in an unauthorised vehicle for towing? Or thieves deciding how they were going to break in and steal our Fuego? Turns out it was neither, as the voices slowly dissapeared and the night returned to silence, although annoyingly an hour or so of sleepless waiting later. Despite no trouble it still spooked us a little so we drove back to our original spot in the main square for the night.
The next morning we rose at 6am to the sounds of cars speeding by so decided to get up and find some breakfast. I grabbed my standard pollo verde tamale, a type of corn flour dough stuffed with chicken and salsa then steamed in a corn husk, paired with a ridiculously good chocolate frappe made from Oaxacan cocoa. Seriously, it was quite possibly the best chocolate drink I’ve ever had. We then went for a bit of a wander through the local markets around town, dodging rushing shoppers as we weaved through aisles of fresh produce, souvenirs and handcrafts. It was then time for lunch, so we returned to the meat alley for a feast of chorizo, pork and beef, along with some beers and a few vegetables to balance things out. After our giant feed we spent some time walking it all off then decided to return to Fuego for a bit of relax time.
When we returned to the square we were horrified to see a tow truck lowering it’s tray in front of Fuego. We ran over just before it was loaded up, explaining that it was our van and that we were able to move it right away. The officer politely kept telling us to “take it easy”, obviously so proud of the few English words he knew, then allowed us to move Fuego to make way for the festival they were setting up for. At this stage we were tired of the problems we were having parking Fuego in town, so moved to a quiet street just outside of the centro historico, right near a Starbucks where we spent the remainder of our evening slurping drinks and abusing the free wifi.
Our last day was rainy, so we decided to check out the Oaxaca Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibits were quite good but rather limited, so we were in and out quicker than expected. As we’d seen most of the city and the rain was dampening the little options we had, we decided to return to our comfortable chairs at Starbucks to catch up on some much needed blog writing and trip planning.
Next stop, the warm sand, crashing waves and cool coastal breeze of Zipolite!