Why we picked Oaxaca...a short intro to a long story.
Updated: Aug 26, 2019
I’ve been a Oaxaca fanatic since I first discovered it on a wild trip to a Mexican wedding in 2001. From the very beginning I always knew I wanted to live there. The food, the mountains, the beaches, the city, the climate and the peaceful folks are all incredibly magnetic. Rachael and I met in 2011 and I first brought her there in 2013.
We bought property a month after we got there for her first time.
That’s how convincing Oaxaca is.
It’s not as if we’re easily impressed. I’ve been to 47 countries and Rachael has been to a few dozen herself. We’ve seen it all. Traveling is what we live for and diving headfirst into different cultures is what makes that so. When we visit a place our mission is to find out what life there is really like and not just gobble up whatever nonsense they put on for the tourists. We don’t stay in sterile resorts or tread anywhere near the beaten path. If you’re looking for us in Africa, Southeast Asia, South America or Mexico, check down at the local market first. We’ll be the two gringos sitting at the table full of locals that’s covered with empty bottles.
Being an accomplished chef and married to a total foodie means that eating is an extremely important activity to us.
Not only do we love eating great food, but we know that the food tells a LOT about the culture that created it. In this area Oaxaca definitely does not disappoint, neither in deliciousness nor in reflecting the folk. Some things are extremely simple, others incredibly complex. A traditional black mole, for example, has 25-40 ingredients in the sauce, depending on who makes it. How the hell, you may ask, did an indigenous culture come up with such a thing living in primitive conditions centuries ago?
How the hell….? That’s the beginning of a LOT of thoughts you have when first getting to know Oaxaca, its history and, most importantly in our minds, the way things are today.
Compared to anywhere on the planet Oaxaca is a special place, wildly diverse in every way.
Ecologically speaking, Oaxaca boasts desert, pine forest, jungle and tropical beaches all within 100 miles.
Culturally and gastronomically? An enigma all the way around. Modern cities and indigenous villages coexist in extreme proximity. It took us years to get a grip on things and really understand a culture that is caught in a time warp between old and new ways of life.
It’s the place that we call home, no matter where we are, and we love to share it with people in a way that lets them really and truly get to know it and not just see it out of the window of a bus or in hokey shows like the Guelaguetza that exploit and cheapen indigenous culture.
Everyone in Oaxaca is friendly, but it takes a long time to become a friend. With many we now feel like part of the family and we know they feel that way about us. I reckon some folks have even stopped noticing that two of the family members are so tall and white.