Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Mexico 2019

A hop and a skip to Oaxaca

As planned, we got up early, finalised our luggage and set off for the airport by Uber. Our driver looked about 15, but his driving was competent enough. Today's journey would take us to our next destination, Oaxaca, via a change of planes at Mexico City. Our aircraft, a Boeing 737-700 and an Embraer E175, both looked old and dirty, but we did at least manage to get some decent lounge time when on the ground. Immediately on arrival at our new destination, I was aware that - generally speaking - people looked different here. They tended to have a perceptibly stronger 'indigenous' appearance, with less Spanish or European influence.

Oaxaca - What's in a name?
- It's pronounced wa-HA-ca, just like the UK restaurant chain (which is, of course, named after the city).
- The modern name derives from an indigenous-language original. The first attempt at hispanicisation was Guajaca, later revised to Oaxaca.
- The official name became Oaxaca de Juárez in 1872, but the city is still near-universally referred to in popular usage as simply Oaxaca. 
- The city is capital of the Mexican federal state of Oaxaca. Where ambiguity might otherwise result, the city is sometimes referred to as Ciudad de Oaxaca in Spanish, or Oaxaca City in English.

Our latest driver - with wife and child! - was waiting for us at OAX, which looked like a remarkably small airport for a city of 300,000 people. It was one of those where the plane had to do a U-turn on the runway and taxi back along it in order to access the terminal.

After a trouble-free and quite chatty ride, we settled into a perfectly reasonable junior suite with a prime corner position, at the Holiday Inn Express. In due course, we took a short walk to get to know the immediate neighbourhood and buy some wine. We then chilled by the pool for a while until sunset started and the mosquitoes began to appear.

Later, we headed out again for a local dinner of tacos. First, we tried two well known varieties: al pastor, combining Middle Eastern spices with local flavours, and queso fundido, featuring melted cheese. We then moved on to a couple of local specialities: gringas, and one that Bruce would only describe as "spare parts of a pig - don't ask". I didn't!

Saturday 02 Mar

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