After a month in Cuba, it was a welcome relief to be back in Mexico and have the ability to eat some proper food! Cuba was easily the hardest place to be a vegetarian that I have visited so far and eating fresh fruit and vegetables again was euphoric.
Victoria and I spent a night in Cancun before heading back to the capital to see Teotihuacan, an amazing civilization that pre-dates both the Incas and Mayans. The pyramids are a sight to behold and are probably my favourite set of ruins I have seen to date.
Although I’ve been to Mexico before, I had only visited Mexico City and Cancun, and I was pretty excited for the día de los muertos (day of the dead) festival to begin. We decided a while back to celebrate one of Mexico’s biggest festivals in Oaxaca, a smaller town but one that is renowned for its traditional celebration of those that have passed into the afterlife.
I thought the festival was going to be a wild party for three to four days with a Carnival-esque atmosphere about it, but that could not have been further from the truth. It was extremely traditional, with families and friends gathered by the graves of their loved ones to pay homage and reconnect with them. There were also spatterings of street parades and people dressed in full costume to celebrate.
Even though it was a traditional affair, I met back up with Cameron, whom I have not seen since January and it’s fair to say we definitely tried to get the party started. It’s always great to travel with one of your best mates and it made Oaxaca that much better.
The Five Senses of Oaxaca
Oaxaca looks like petrified waterfalls. We went out to Hierve el Agua from Oaxaca and saw the petrified waterfalls and salt pools, which was a pretty nice little day trip.
Oaxaca smells like raw meat. I had not been in a marketplace for quite some time, and the raw meat smell from South America was here, too.
Oaxaca feels like disorganization. Maybe it was because of the hostel we were staying in, but it seemed like nobody knew what parades or festivities were happening each day. We ended up just walking around trying to find things to do.
Oaxaca tastes like tlayudas. Another traditional food from Oaxaca, it was like a big poppadum covered in beans, string cheese, tomatoes and lettuce and was an absolute delight!
Oaxaca sounds like crickets. One of the local delicacies is fried crickets, and every time we would venture out to the market, they would be shoved in our faces and the vendors would be shouting “chapulines!”