Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm just coming down from my "high" of spending 9 days in Oaxaca over the Day of the Dead. It had been over 25 years since my husband, Jim, and I had last been in Oaxaca (about time we got back there!), and we had an amazing time.

So many things were wonderful about our time there, such as:
* A great AirBNB stay in a wonderful family's home - 3 blocks from the zocalo; we certainly parted as good friends.
* The chance to participate in a joyous celebration - incredible costumes, parades, music, dancing, etc., etc., etc.
* Watching the world go by, sitting on a bench in the zocolo. Smiling at beautiful children.
* An "En Via" Foundation tour, visiting the home of women who have gotten micro-loans from this worthy organization. The mole, Oaxacan hot chocolate and the mescal were great! The chance to hear about these women's efforts to better their lives was intimate and "real."
* We felt such a friendly welcome from virtually everyone with whom we had the chance to interact. I've always found Mexico to be welcoming - and never more so than during this stay in Oaxaca.
* The fact that so many Spanish words, that had been lying fallow in the recesses of my brain, found their way out of my mouth in basic, simple communications. The people connections are certainly a favorite part of my visits to other places.
* AND, the opportunity to give up our return seats, until the next morning's flight, allowing us to spend one more day in this city that we hated to leave. Given a nice hotel room, city transportation, meals and two airline vouchers that should cover our next trip to this special country. (What a fortunate exit from Oaxaca!)

Just wanted to share with you - other people who love Mexico - a bit about what a great time we had! We're hoping that within the next two years, we'll be able to call Mexico home, rather than just coming for infrequent, short visits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,204 Posts
[QUOTE=MNWildRose;2315601]I'm just coming down from my "high" of spending 9 days in Oaxaca over the Day of the Dead. It had been over 25 years since my husband, Jim, and I had last been in Oaxaca (about time we got back there!), and we had an amazing time.

So many things were wonderful about our time there, such as:
* A great AirBNB stay in a wonderful family's home - 3 blocks from the zocalo; we certainly parted as good friends.
* The chance to participate in a joyous celebration - incredible costumes, parades, music, dancing, etc., etc., etc.
* Watching the world go by, sitting on a bench in the zocolo. Smiling at beautiful children.
* An "En Via" Foundation tour, visiting the home of women who have gotten micro-loans from this worthy organization. The mole, Oaxacan hot chocolate and the mescal were great! The chance to hear about these women's efforts to better their lives was intimate and "real."
* We felt such a friendly welcome from virtually everyone with whom we had the chance to interact. I've always found Mexico to be welcoming - and never more so than during this stay in Oaxaca.
* The fact that so many Spanish words, that had been lying fallow in the recesses of my brain, found their way out of my mouth in basic, simple communications. The people connections are certainly a favorite part of my visits to other places.
* AND, the opportunity to give up our return seats, until the next morning's flight, allowing us to spend one more day in this city that we hated to leave. Given a nice hotel room, city transportation, meals and two airline vouchers that should cover our next trip to this special country. (What a fortunate exit from Oaxaca!)

Just wanted to share with you - other people who love Mexico - a bit about what a great time we had! We're hoping that within the next two years, we'll be able to call Mexico home, rather than just coming for infrequent, short visits.[/QUOTE]


MN:

I am pleased that you enjoyed your brief visit to Oaxaca and I understand your entusiasm for the town, or at least its urban historic core. I share the enthusiasm for historic Oaxaca City - a city of great historical interest with some interesting, if often, overrated culinary adventures and a town choc-a-bloc with touristy restaurants and neighborhood eateries catering to tourists with mediocre food and destined to disappoint those with high expectations.

I am addressing my remarks not to you as a tourist seemingly infatuated by a region´s much heralded attractions but to those who might actuallty be considering moving and living and there as permanent residents.

It is one thing to be a tourist passing through town and enamored of crowded cafes in an historic plaza filled with beautiful old trees and surrounded by great museums and gardens and iconic historical religious buildings and it is yet another thing to live in a place and the difference is not to be taken lightly. Living in Oaxaca is not the same thing as visiting Oaxaca as one might say of New York or Paris of Mumbai.

The city of Oaxaca is a wretched place to live as a resident. In the first place, finding a place to rent or buy in the stunningly beautiful historic center is impossible to not easy and, if accomplished through extraordinarily good fortune - damned expensive. The city´s farflung neighborhoods are largely unattractive and seemingly unplanned and hectic conurbations that are unattractive, dusty and unpleasant. The city´s infrastructure of urban byways is hopelessly muddled with perhaps the worst traffic plan I have ever seen and I´ve seen some that would curl your hair from Africa to India and beyond. The city is isolated so, if you move there, it is several hours to any place else. The food is among the most overrated on the planet.

In 2005, we looked at Oaxaca City as a place to live to get away from Lake Chapala and went there to "look round". We spent a bit of time there as well as Mérida, San Lusi Potosí, San Cristobal de Las Casas and other places and finally decided on San Cristóbal de Las Casas. We really thought seriously about moving to Oaxaca City but the chaotic and often bogged down traffic, incessant and daunting traffic noise, inferior urban infrastructure, normally unpleasant and ratty nondescript neighborhoods outside of Centro , serious air pollution and isolation form just about anywhere else within a three hour drive and we said no thanks. Don´t be fooled by all the expats drinking beer and mescal in the zocalo. You can ony drink so much beer and, believe me, that is an expat fantasy and not the real Oaxaca.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Love Oaxaca, But Not Where We Hope to Live

"The city of Oaxaca is a wretched place to live as a resident."

Ouch, that's a pretty harsh description, it seems to me. (Though, Hound Dog, you certainly back up your comments by many true points and I accept your insights as from someone with more experience in Mexico than have I.) Many good people I've had the pleasure to meet though, both in person during our oh-too-brief visit and through lots of internet correspondence, seem to really enjoy life in the city of Oaxaca. Very personal decisions each of us has to make, of course.

Though it's a very special place to me, Oaxaca is not, however, the city that Jim and I look forward to living in when it is, at last, time that we can make our move to Mexico. For us, it's too hot in the summer months and, as you mention, it doesn't have the accessibility to other areas that we would like to have - though we were thrilled to get a direct connection from Houston to Oaxaca this trip! (I would think the "isolation" issue you mention for Oaxaca might also be a consideration for living in beautiful San Cristobal de las Casas.)

Alas, we won't be able to afford two homes in Mexico - you're very lucky to be able to split your time between Lake Chapala and San Cristobal! Both places that I have enjoyed visiting over the years. Oaxaca and Chiapas are, to me, especially appealing states because of their strong indigenous foundations.

Our criteria list for where we want to spend our Mexican years includes these factors:
* temperate weather - the mountains call us, not the beaches
* moderate size
* good quality health care (the main reason San Cristobal didn't make the list)
* ability to get around without a car
* relative ease of returning to the U.S. if/when we need/want to

We've been considering this list, as we look forward to our next phase of life "south of the border," for many years. Right now, our most likely choice will be Guanajuato; with Xalapa, Taxco and Queretero still possibly in the running. (So I would certainly enjoy anyone weighing in on any of these locales.)

We hope to take a last investigatory trip in 2014; and ideally selling our stuff and packing our bags in early 2015. So much to do between now and then to make this happen. But I know others have done it, so we can too. I am so grateful to people who are willing to share their experiences.

Gracias to All!
Rosa
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,837 Posts
The city of Oaxaca is a wretched place to live as a resident. In the first place, finding a place to rent or buy in the stunningly beautiful historic center is impossible to not easy and, if accomplished through extraordinarily good fortune - damned expensive. The city´s farflung neighborhoods are largely unattractive and seemingly unplanned and hectic conurbations that are unattractive, dusty and unpleasant. The city´s infrastructure of urban byways is hopelessly muddled with perhaps the worst traffic plan I have ever seen and I´ve seen some that would curl your hair from Africa to India and beyond. The city is isolated so, if you move there, it is several hours to any place else. . . .

We really thought seriously about moving to Oaxaca City but the chaotic and often bogged down traffic, incessant and daunting traffic noise, inferior urban infrastructure, normally unpleasant and ratty nondescript neighborhoods outside of Centro , serious air pollution and isolation form just about anywhere else within a three hour drive and we said no thanks. Don´t be fooled by all the expats drinking beer and mescal in the zocalo. You can ony drink so much beer and, believe me, that is an expat fantasy and not the real Oaxaca.
Oaxaca is a great tourist town. Visit the central historic area and dine and drink in the zocolo. Visit some of the nearby pueblos for works of art and the markets, but what Hound Dog says in the above quote is true. One traffic jam at Cinco Señores will be enough to stop thinking about living there. Or caught on the street that runs by the second class bus station will cure you desire to move there. There are a few bright spots upward to the mountain, but most are dreary and dusty. The food is excellent.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hound Dog

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,204 Posts
[QUOTE=MNWildRose;2327209]"The city of Oaxaca is a wretched place to live as a resident."

Ouch, that's a pretty harsh description, it seems to me. (Though, Hound Dog, you certainly back up your comments by many true points and I accept your insights as from someone with more experience in Mexico than have I.) Many good people I've had the pleasure to meet though, both in person during our oh-too-brief visit and through lots of internet correspondence, seem to really enjoy life in the city of Oaxaca. Very personal decisions each of us has to make, of course.

Though it's a very special place to me, Oaxaca is not, however, the city that Jim and I look forward to living in when it is, at last, time that we can make our move to Mexico. For us, it's too hot in the summer months and, as you mention, it doesn't have the accessibility to other areas that we would like to have - though we were thrilled to get a direct connection from Houston to Oaxaca this trip! (I would think the "isolation" issue you mention for Oaxaca might also be a consideration for living in beautiful San Cristobal de las Casas.)

Alas, we won't be able to afford two homes in Mexico - you're very lucky to be able to split your time between Lake Chapala and San Cristobal! Both places that I have enjoyed visiting over the years. Oaxaca and Chiapas are, to me, especially appealing states because of their strong indigenous foundations.

Our criteria list for where we want to spend our Mexican years includes these factors:
* temperate weather - the mountains call us, not the beaches
* moderate size
* good quality health care (the main reason San Cristobal didn't make the list)
* ability to get around without a car
* relative ease of returning to the U.S. if/when we need/want to

We've been considering this list, as we look forward to our next phase of life "south of the border," for many years. Right now, our most likely choice will be Guanajuato; with Xalapa, Taxco and Queretero still possibly in the running. (So I would certainly enjoy anyone weighing in on any of these locales.)

We hope to take a last investigatory trip in 2014; and ideally selling our stuff and packing our bags in early 2015. So much to do between now and then to make this happen. But I know others have done it, so we can too. I am so grateful to people who are willing to share their experiences.

Gracias to All!
Rosa[/QUOTE]


A splendid response, MN, and I apoloize if my description of Oaxaca City seemed a bit harsh. Perhaps that reflects my disappointment that the town did not live up to my expectations since I found it impossible to find the home I wanted in the very desirable historic center and found the anarchic and unbelievably loud and chaotic traffic there on rudimentary streets to be unacceptable for full-time living - at least as far as we were concerned. I regret to say that as Oaxaca City was, initially, my dream home in Mexico; a dream shattered by the grundginess and incivility of the town once we saw beyond its exotic facade, we were unable to reconcile living there full time.

As for picking a town; that´s tough even though we explored many in our quest for the most pleasant place to live. Perhaps that is why we split our time between the Lake Chapala area and the Chiapas Highlands. We somehow need a change in our environment from time to time although that is not a preponderant need for many.

OK, let me give it a try. Tehuantepec or Juchitan , Oaxaca. Maybe somewhere in the Bays of Hualtulco, Oaxaca. Perhaps in the vicinity of Tulum, Quintana Roo.

Acrually, the shores of Lake Chapala, with the region´s indescribably superior climate, is not to be dismissed as a place to settle.

I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up.

I give up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hound Dog, As I've long noted, in my "lurking" and occasional interactions over the past many years (Bubba on mexconnect, etc.), you are not a man to mince words and you have great insightful comments that you've shared with us. Very much appreciated! I love a good written back-and-forth. And so I look forward to our occasional future forum conversations, as I check in more often as our anticipated move comes closer to reality! (I want to be "you" - a U.S.-leaving expat - when I grow up!) Hasta luego!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,204 Posts
[QUOTE=MNWildRose;2327833]Hound Dog, As I've long noted, in my "lurking" and occasional interactions over the past many years (Bubba on mexconnect, etc.), you are not a man to mince words and you have great insightful comments that you've shared with us. Very much appreciated! I love a good written back-and-forth. And so I look forward to our occasional future forum conversations, as I check in more often as our anticipated move comes closer to reality! (I want to be "you" - a U.S.-leaving expat - when I grow up!) Hasta luego![/QUOTE]

Thank you fo the pleasant response, MN. It´s always nice to exchange thoughts, even if controversial, with someone who loves the old back.and-forth and does not come to pieces at the first notion of discord. Yes, indeed, I am the old "Bubba" of Mexico Connect who was summarily discharged fom that forum twice and once beseached to return before being once again discharged summarily once again and, since you know that, let me tell you a story.

OOPS!

Not permissable under the rules of this forum but highly entertaining were I permitted to discuss the event which occured a few years ago. It does not matter and should be left to lie in obscurity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,204 Posts
For what period of time did you live in Oaxaca?
I visit Oaxaca City as well as many other places in Oaxaca State periodically from my nearby home in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. I have a number of indigenous friends there among the Zapotecos in the Valley of Oaxaca but also in the Bays of Huatulco, Tehuantepec, Juchitlan and many beachside and mountainside villages of which you may, and probably, never, have heard. I have spent a great deal of time in Oaxaca State[ ]

[ ]
We went to Oaxaca City to buy a home and backed off a after discoverin the place was unworhy as a residence. If you want to pursue this inquiry, let me know,
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,684 Posts
I visit Oaxaca City as well as many other places in Oaxaca State periodically from my nearby home in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
Visiting a place, far from home (an 8 hour drive from las Casas to the city of Oaxaca, +/-), as a tourist ... and living in a community ... are very different experiences and I'm thinking that the recommendation of tourists, though they often contain helpful/insightful information ... probably shouldn't be the basis for someone like MNWildRose when it comes to making a determination as to whether or not the city of Oaxaca "is a wretched place to live as a resident." :)

MNWildRose, I like the due diligence you've undertaken to locate a place that might be right for you in Mexico. I think too many expats probably dont think-through an important lifestyle change as you (and they) are contemplating. And the lack of sufficient advance research can easily result in disappointment. Best of luck. :rockon:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,204 Posts
Visiting a place, far from home (an 8 hour drive from las Casas to the city of Oaxaca, +/-), as a tourist ... and living in a community ... are very different experiences and I'm thinking that the recommendation of tourists, though they often contain helpful/insightful information ... probably shouldn't be the basis for someone like MNWildRose when it comes to making a determination as to whether or not the city of Oaxaca "is a wretched place to live as a resident." :)

MNWildRose, I like the due diligence you've undertaken to locate a place that might be right for you in Mexico. I think too many expats probably dont think-through an important lifestyle change as you (and they) are contemplating. And the lack of sufficient advance research can easily result in disappointment. Best of luck. :rockon:
[ ] We had intended to move to Oaxaca City in retirement way back in 2001 and have explored that city and its environs in depth before rejectiing it and deciding on San Cristóbal de Las Casas, a town not suited to everyone but certainly suited to us. Oaxaca City may suit many but here is what we found:
" nothing to live in acceptably avialable in the extraordinarily beautiful and architecturally magninficent historic centro nor the prospect of finding any such place in a reasonable period of time.
" Outside of the beautiful centro, an otherwise polluted and ugly conglomeration of unattractive barrios of no interest spoiled by incessant noisy traffic and motorists exhibiting no civility. The rudist and most discourteous drivers I have encountered in all of Mexico.
" An ugly and isolated town of no consequence and with overrated food to boot.

A great place to visit but no place to live full time. [ ]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,204 Posts
I don´t mean to sound overly harsh in critiquing Oaxaca City as a place to reside. If one has sufficent personal wealth to live in centro and has the patience to wait for the right place to rent or buy one can, perhaps, find a home that is within walking distance of the zocalo and many nearby architectural gems and cultural attractions including frequent street entertainment events. As a walking city, Oaxaca can be a great place to live. One of the problems in Oaxaca is that many families think of their old colonial style homes as the family patrimony and are thus loath to sell the family properties so being there at the right time to acquire a suitable place to live when a property comes on the market is important. Interestingly, in Mérida, another city we love to visit and considered as a place to which to move, Meridianos more often want out of the historic center to move to new residential areas often in the suburbs so one more easily finds homes in centro for sale - overpriced homes mainly for the expat market but homes nevertheless. We rejected the notion of Mérida as a place to live full time because of what we considered excessive heat and humidity. We still love to visit Mérida and other parts of The Yucatan in winter and are on our way there this coming January but living there in the summer was not in the cards. We didn´t leave hot and humid Mobile for coolish San Francisco just to move to hot and humid Mérida some 35 years later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
I remember, long time ago flying (oil leaking from the engines - flying over the ocean to gain altitude to make it over the mountains) from Puerto Escondido to Oaxaca then taking the bus back - nicknamed the "vomit comet" - think I was almost at that point when the road finally leveled out....
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top