I went for a walk today. Well actually I went for a wander today. I was at a little point of writers block and decided I needed to get away from my desk. You may remember from a previous blog, that I am not the biggest fan of walking in Oaxaca, especially when I am in a rush to get somewhere. This however, was just a wander but nonetheless it resulted in a blog post of observations…
1. Green space where art thou?
Oaxaca being a city that grew up pretty quickly doesn’t really have any green space. It seems that in the quest to develop quickly, they paved paradise. Don’t get me wrong, Oaxaca is stunningly beautiful but every now and then I wish I could walk out of my door into somewhere green that wasn’t like a little square roundabout surrounded by traffic.
2. Clouds, clouds, clouds.
When I can’t get lost in green I get lost in white and blue. Oaxaca could very possibly have one of the most beautiful, magical skies in the world. In London they say you see the best of it if you look up at the architecture, in Oaxaca I say look up at the sky, it will literally blow your mind. Sometimes the clouds are big and fluffy, sometimes they ripple the sky and at other times they allow incredible strips of pink to crisscross the blue. There are also others days when the sky in the most intense wonderful blue without a cloud to be found!
3. Remembering I am a white girl
Every walk I go on, someone (more accurately some MAN) seems to think it is important to remind me of my gender and colour by randomly shouting “Güera” (literally, white girl) at me from their car as they drive past. I never quite know what they hope to achieve. Perhaps they think I will be so enchanted by their knowledge or observational skills that I will jump in their car and drive off with them into the sunset?
Ok seriously Mr Taxi driver why do you single me out as the person who MUST need a taxi when I am out for a walk? Do foreigners in Mexico not walk anywhere? Apart from the numerous little toots of their horns that they give me as they drive past, today a taxi driver was so sure that I really wanted a taxi as I walked along happily, that he beeped once quietly, then once very loudly and then leaned out of his car, waving his arms at me. There were about ten other people walking along but nope, just you güera, you NEED a taxi right? Well I say, where are you Mr Taxi driver when I actually do NEED a cab, huh?
5. To Indicate or not to Indicate…
It should never be a question. Why do drivers here never indicate that they are going to turn. I don’t understand why a tiny little hand movement, that essentially flicks a lever up or down, is so hard. It wasn’t until moving to Oaxaca that I realised there is no universal hand single for put your indicators on. The other day I made a signal at a non-indicating driver that looked like I was telling him he was talking too much…not quite the message I was trying to get across and he rightly looked very confused!
When you go for a wander in Oaxaca, always be prepared for a surprise. Suddenly you could become part of a passing parade, or you might come across a fantastic piece of street art that appeared overnight or you might be lured by the sound of Mariachis singing to a girl for the 15th birthday in the zocalo. That is the joy of Oaxaca, you just never know what fun might be round the corner!
Susannah Rigg is a freelance writer and Mexico specialist. Her work has been featured in Condé Nast Traveler, CNN Travel, BBC Travel, The Independent UK, Afar and The New Worlder among others. Check out her portfolio here. Contact Susannah by email, info [at] mexicoretold [dot] com and join her on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.