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Expatme Experiences - A weekend trip to Oaxaca

Continuing with our Expatme Experience series we want to share a little travel report from Patricia, our expat tutor from Mexico DF. She went on a weekend trip to Oaxaca, experiencing inland travelling by plane and also the "soul of México" in the south of the country. Enjoy reading the article and also check out the video at the end of the text for some great pictures from Oaxaca! 

Weekend tripping to Oaxaca

by Patricia López

As I had to attend a conference in Oaxaca it gave me an excuse to extend my stay and combine business with pleasure by staying a couple of days more in the beautiful city of Oaxaca/México. Travelling there by bus or car can be a tedious and lenthy affair, hence I decided to travel by plane as inland flying in México is a cheap and fast alternative.

Like many other industries in Mexico, the airplane industry was a de facto duopoly between Mexicana and Aeromexico for a long time. But since its main competitor Mexicana had to file for bankruptcy and ceased operations in 2010, Aeromexico has been left with the leading position in the market. As the only major market player left (in their eyes) Aeromexico started to behave like they deserved it all, like service was not important anymore and being on time was just something that happened by coincidance. Luckily for us there is alternatives since a couple of years, with low cost carriers like Interjet or VivaAerobus putting the traditional airline(s) under pressure to perform better. Still, travelling by "not-state-owned" airlines gives you a greater chance of arriving on time and being able to rely somehow on prices and a certain service level. I decided to travel with Interjet. Everything went smooth.

My destination this time is definitly worth visiting. The city of Oaxaca. It can be argued that you don’t know the soul of México, if you don’t know the south of Mexico. And a lot of that soul is in Oaxaca. I have been to Oaxaca three times now and there is still a lot of soul left for me to come back to. And I am not sure a lifetime will be enough.

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What have I seen? I have seen indigenous communities living in very high mountains hiding their own god behind the Catholic Churchs’ pulpit, while without knowing, the priest holds the sunday mass. I have seen four different nationalities hanging out at a café in Oaxaca city. I have been told some streets look like present day postwar Nicaragua and I have seen streets worthy of being in Polanco, one of the chicest neighbourhoods in Mexico DF. I have been told there is a tree that is as old as our history. I have seen posters and graffitis keeping up with current social movements. I have been eating grasshoppers! I have eaten the biggest quesadillas that I have ever found in Mexico and I have spent as much time in traffic as in Mexico City. I have heard that some people won’t come back to Oaxaca because there are a lot of protests against government here (Oaxaca has always been a stronghold of protesting against unfairness and politics in general; think about the teachers movement for example), but luckily I know more and more people who come back to the city every year for private and increasingly professional reasons.

Oaxaca has a life of its’ own. It is the state with the biggest number of indigenous population in entire Mexico. It has arguably the most complicated political division in Mexico, with nine sociocultural regions considered by the National Comission of Indigenous Development.  It is feisty and because of its diversity, not even understood by many Mexicans themselves. You should come and experience it for yourself!

Are you hungry? Oaxaca is of course also known for its awesome food and local specialties. Check out the Vice Munchies guide to Oaxaca : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEeU4c2G7sc