Journals from Spring Semester 08: Oaxaca, Mexico
2008-04-03 Feelin HOT HOT HOT!
All of us with our new friend Sergio at Playa Carrizalillo
For semana santa Tiffany, Melissa, Laura, Jessica, and I went to Puerto Escondido. Im not going to lie, it was the cheapest and best spring break I have ever experienced!
We bought our tickets from the ADO bus station about 2 weeks early. The buses are fairly cheap, pretty comfortable, and accommodating as well. Just like the other girls we left late Thursday night at 11. We all took Dramamine or Tylenol PM to help us with the curvy roads and in an unsuccessful attempt at sleeping through the whole thing. The bus tires were really squeaky and the bus was really cold, but overall it wasnt bad. We arrived in Puerto Escondido around 9 the next morning.
Puerto Escondido is the place to be during spring break, and for this reason, we could not find a hotel. Luckily, Tiffanys host mom has a friend from her church congregation that offered to let us stay in rooms adjacent to their house, which had a complimentary outdoor shower and bathroom. It cost considerably less than a hotel room in Puerto Escondido during semana santa. We each spent about $80, including tip, to stay there for an entire week. We didnt have all the luxuries of a hotel, but it was still comfortable, although the downside was that we were eaten alive by bugs the first couple nights. Seriously eaten alive. Laura had more than 50 bites and her arms looked swollen, just like my eye. We learned quickly that in this climate the insects thrive and we needed to regularly slather on the bug repellent and sleep in long sleeves, pants, and socks. We had good-sized beds and the sheets were changed daily. Each room had a fan, windows, and dressers to put our belongings. We even had a safe to store all of our valuables when we left the house. There was an area to make breakfast and a refrigerator to store food. Most mornings we just shared a box of cereal and milk.
We ate a lot at the market because it was so big and had so many delicious things to choose from. We ended up having a few favorite places to eat around town. In the market, we fell in love with this cute juice stand. The couple running it were very friendly to us and we chatted with them every day. We had fresh squeezed orange juice, carrot juice, chocolate milk, you name it, they had it. They mixed whatever ingredients you wanted together. It was heaven! We also ate the best tlayudas there. It makes me salivate just thinking about them! It was that good! Tiffany, Laura, and I decided to try the seafood in the market, and Im so glad we did. Tiffany and I both ordered shrimp plates and Laura had fish. She was a little freaked out because the head was still on it so Tiffany had to remove it. The shrimp also came complete with all their parts, which made eating a bit difficult and messy, but it was worth it. Each plate cost around $5, which was incredible for the amount of shrimp/fish we received. Near our house we encountered our favorite place to eat cheap/quick tacos and quesadillas. The women working there would always see us walking by and say hi. I love how friendly people are here in Mxico! At the beach Jessica and I fell in love with the nieve de coco (coconut), which was made with chunks of fresh coconut in it. It was a sweet and cold treat to offset the intense heat and humidity, which were our constant companions. And we thought Oaxaca was hot!
We went to the beach every day and they were all gorgeous! The first 2-3 days we were there, there werent any tourists and it was very peaceful. Our favorite beach was Playa Carrizalillo because the water was safe enough to swim in and it was a lot smaller than the others. We ended up spending almost every day here. In addition, there were trees at Playa Carrizalillo so we could lie in the shade for free. At the other beaches to get out of the sun we had to actually pay for shade. We did do it one day, spending the afternoon lounging in hammocks was the ideal way to unwind after a tough two months of classes.
Tired of resting, Tiffany and I really wanted to play some sort of game, so we approached a group of guys passing around a volleyball one afternoon. Their response to our request to join was, Por supuesto! or Of course! They were around our age, from Mexico City and vacationing in Puerto Escondido for semana santa as well. We pretty much spent every day after that playing volleyball, swimming, and going dancing with them. It was amazing! They were such an energetic group! We traded information and have been keeping in touch ever since.
We did do more than hang out on the beach in Puerto Escondido. One evening we watched a ftbol (soccer) game. We walked through all the different markets and tiendas, where we bought souvenirs like unique jewelry, hammocks, shot glasses, and seashells. Another day we went on an excursion with Roberto to search for turtles, dolphins, manta rays, and to go fishing. We left for our excursion at 6:30 in the morning and got back around 10. We saw a couple manta rays, quite a few turtles, and many dolphins. There were 2 groups of dolphins: spotted and white-bellied. Watching the dolphins was the most exciting part! There were so many of them, and its unusual to be able to observe two large pods during one outing! They would jump out into the air and swim under and around the boat, for a while even escorting us. It was the coolest thing in the world. Since we didnt have the chance to swim with turtles that day, Roberto took us out again another day. It was amazing to see how this is done. Someone pointed and yelled "tortuga (turtle)" and he stopped the boat and dove off with a rope in one hand. He was quick! Roberto captured the turtle and one by one we jumped in so we could pet the turtle and swim with it. I was the only one who wore a life vest. Yay for my phobia of drowning! I was actually really nervous/scared to jump off the boat so I am very proud of myself for actually getting up the courage because it is something Ive always wanted to do and Im very glad I did!
Puerto Escondido may have been more crowded than Puerto Angel, but it was filled with so much life and excitement. As we were leaving, Corona was preparing to throw a huge party on the beach, and the weekend artisan market was opening up. We actually made a last effort to stay longer, going to the station about two hours before our bus left, but everything was booked up for semana santa. Oh well, at least the trip ended on a positive note!