This Is What Our Life Looks Like: Oaxaca, Mexico

Sometimes, I forget that our life is interesting.

Don’t get me wrong, whenever we get somewhere new, I get really excited. To me, that newness is interesting. But newness wears off, and once we settle into our day-to-day life, and we get used to the nuances and differences of wherever we are, life feels mostly the same as it would if we were at home: we spend a lot of time on our computers, we exercise, we buy groceries and cook, and — because we’re us — we go out for a lot of coffee.

Life feels so normal, we’re quick to forget that it is, in fact, different than if we were living back home in Vancouver or Calgary.

 

 

Cofetarika Oaxaca
Geoff drinking a latte at one of our go-to spots in Oaxaca: Cofetarika. It’s in a courtyard and is 98% outdoors, which is fine given that daytime averages in Oaxaca are in the high 20s, year-round.

 

When we were home in Canada this Christmas, I was hanging out with one of my nephews, Reid, and he asked me to see pictures of where we lived in Mexico. Put on-the-spot, I had almost nothing on my phone to show him.

It made me realize that no one knows what our day-to-day life actually looks like here…or anywhere we’ve been, really. Like the routes we walk through town, the place we buy our vegetables, our apartment…that kind of thing. They don’t know, because we haven’t shared it.

So I thought I’d change that, with posts about what our life actually looks like. Not edited photographs, but snapshots from real life.

Without further adieu, this is what our life looks like in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Our Apartment

First, where we live.

We live in a 2-story apartment building on the second floor, in a 2-bedroom flat. The second bedroom is empty, and we refer to it as the room of doom; it’s where the ant infestation was centred, and now that the ants are gone, it’s become the vacuum cleaner’s bedroom, because we have no need for a second bedroom, and have zero furniture to put in there.

apartment entrance in Mexico
Our front entrance. The barred window on the right is our bedroom. You can sort of see Geoff out on the balcony.

 

A bed and mosquito net
Our bedroom. We sleep under a mosquito net to avoid the discomfort of bites, but keep it up in the day using Katie’s hairclips. We bought the bedspread straight from the weaver in Mitla, about 30 minutes’ from Oaxaca.

 

dining room table mexican apartment
This is where we spend most of our time, sitting at this table staring at laptops. I also have a small standing desk in the left corner of the room, just beyond the table.

 

Across from the table, there's a small sitting area
Across from the table, there’s a small sitting area. We lived in this apartment for 2 full months before we actually started using this area. Mostly, we are with our laptops in the dining room.

 

The kitchen. You can't see it, but we have a 4 burner gas stovetop, too. Pretty basic, but functional.
The kitchen. You can’t see it, but we have a 4 burner gas stovetop, too. We travel with a small stovetop espresso pot and a milk frother, and we bought the blender for smoothies. No toaster or oven.

 

The bathroom
The bathroom. Notice the rock, which is holding down a drain cover in the shower area. That’s to keep cockroaches from crawling up the drains. After years of living in the tropics, we’ve mastered all the tricks to keeping bugs to a minimum.

 

We have a small balcony, that looks directly over at our neighbour's balcony. They're also bloggers/nomads.
Our small balcony, which looks directly over at our neighbour’s balcony. We don’t have a washing machine, as it’s standard practice here to send your laundry out.

Our Neighbourhood

We live right in Centro, about 5 minutes’ walk from the Zócalo, or main square. Our street is a busy bus route, so there’s quite a bit of traffic.

Typically, to get wherever we’re going, we walk up a main street with bread and juice vendors, pass a Mezcaleria and shops, until we arrive at the Benito Juarez market, where you can buy anything from vegetables and meat to handicrafts to soccer gear.

Benito Juarez Market Oaxaca
The exterior of the Benito Juarez Market, where you can buy pretty much anything.

 

Benito Juarez Oaxaca
Inside the market. The woman in the pink apron, with the red “Carmelita” sign, is selling chapulines, or grasshoppers, which are popular as a snack and with meals here.

 

Vegetable vendors Oaxaca Mexico
Women set up on the street corner near the market to sell fruit and vegetables. This is where I stock-up mid-week (our main veggie shopping day is Fridays at the El Llano market).

 

From Benito Juarez Market, we walk into the Zócalo, or main town square. Oaxaca’s Zócalo is fine, but not particularly special. There are restaurants and cafe’s lining the east and west side of the square, with a permanent group of protesters set up along the south edge.

protesters in the zocalo oaxaca mexico
This permanent group protesters, who also set up to sell their crafts and textiles, is sometimes joined by groups of protesting teachers.

 

During weekday afternoons and evenings, and on Saturdays, the Zócalo often has a party-esque atmosphere, with musicians, balloon vendors, and street food offerings supplementing the permanent restaurants.

balloon vendors zocalo oaxaca
Last Saturday in the Zócalo: balloons everywhere.

 

Oaxaca Mexico Zocalo at night
During festival months, such as December, the Zócalo gets a makeover with red, white and green lights: the colours of Christmas, and of Mexico.

 

Beyond the Zócalo is where Oaxaca gets really pretty, and it’s where we spend most of our time when we’re out: all our favourite restaurants, cafés, shops, and bars are in the colorful old town, which is a 7 or 8 minute walk from our apartment.

The Alcalá is the main pedestrian street running north from the Zócalo, and it — along with the parallel streets on either side — is where we go for coffee, dinner, drinks, etc.

 

Alcala Oaxaca Mexico
The Alcalá pedestrian street. One of the cafés I often write in is in the top left corner of this photo.

 

Cinco de Mayo Street Oaxaca Mexico
Cinco de Mayo street runs parallel to the Alcalá, and is filled with small Mezcalerias and craft beer places, and handicraft shops.

 

Alcala area in Oaxaca Mexico
Looking at the Alcalá from a side street, in front of the Church of Santo Domingo

 

Old fountain Oaxaca Mexico
An old fountain a few streets away from the Alcalá.

 

And there you go: our life in Oaxaca.

Questions? Comments? Let us know below!

 

8 thoughts on “This Is What Our Life Looks Like: Oaxaca, Mexico”

  1. So cool to see your life in Mexico! It’s always the quirky things that give it character and make it feel like home no matter where you are. Although that cockroach contraption would make me feel a little uneasy.

  2. Loved to see your life in Mexico. Thank you for sharing how it looks like. I also like the mosquito net just to prevent from insect bites. Kudos to this blog! Keep it up.

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