Having sorted out my electrical blip from the start of my trip, the rest of my first weekend was spent getting my bearings around the city in preparation for week one in Oaxaca. My first stop was a return to my favourite coffee spot in town, The Oaxacan Coffee Company, which I discovered as part of the food tour I did last year. It was just as I remembered it with Mario still running the place but they have expanded into providing sweet and savoury nibbles, selling chocolate (which Oaxaca is famous for – in fact, there is a whole street dedicated to chocolate shops) and some new ceramic drip filter pots for Americanos. I was impressed and told Mario I would happily dedicate an entire blog post to his coffee company, if he would let me…watch this space! I am convinced that if he brought The Oaxacan Coffee Company to the UK, it would be a hit given the current Mexican food revolution sweeping across London in particular. Imagine the numerous food markets that would love a taste of Mexican coffee and churros con chocolate on the side, especially with our cold and rainy climate! Continue reading
Over the last year or two, London has been overtaken by a Mexican street food revolution with Wahaca restaurants leading the way. Ever wondered what the real Oaxaca is like? Well, it is a must for any foodie whose taste buds dance at the thought of all things Mexican. It will turn your ideas of what Mexican food is all about on its head and there is a serious street food scene to boot. So good is the traditional cuisine of Mexico that it was officially recognised by UNESCO as part of the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. If authentic Mexican cuisine is what you are after, there is no better place to indulge than the City of Oaxaca, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the many food markets on offer ranging from the smaller organic markets on the outskirts of the city or the main ones in the central zone; the 20 de Noviembre market (with an area dedicated to Carnes Asadas (cooked/grilled/roasted meat) or the neighbouring Benito Juárez Market, which is a more general market with a mixture of food stalls, vegetables, fruits and handicrafts. Wherever you choose, it will quickly become apparent that the love of food is at the heart of Oaxacan culture and society. Here are some “must try” flavours to start you on your Oaxacan food adventure. Continue reading
Well, after the most hectic few months of my career and lots of planning and last minute bookings for my big adventure, I am finally home again in my beloved Oaxaca, México! I came to México on a last minute Intrepid food tour in May 2013 and completely fell in love with everything about México, especially Oaxaca. So when it came to planning my Sabbatical, I knew that the first stop on my trip had to be Oaxaca (pronounced Wahaca). In fact, 43 days of my “Round the Americas in 84 days” adventure is dedicated to México alone; that is how much of a fan I am. Oaxaca is exactly how I remember it. I was so excited to be back when I took my first wander through the streets yesterday that there were literally tears in my eyes – the beautiful weather, the friendly people, the colours all around you of the wonderful buildings, the artistic/cultural side of Oaxaca and the food (the gastronomical capital of México). I challenge anyone to come to Oaxaca and not fall in love with it! Continue reading
As the countdown to my trip is rapidly approaching single digits in terms of the number of days left, one of the biggest differences that I have noticed compared to the preparation for my 11-month trip in my early twenties is the technological aspect. In 1999, I remember thinking about what to pack and making sure I had everyone’s email addresses IF there was a cheap Internet café in Thailand or Australasia. In fact, at the time I left for that trip, I was against the whole idea of mobile telephones and refused to have one until my return in 2000 when the dawn of the millennium suddenly meant it was no longer a “nice to have” but an essential item.
In preparation for this shorter trip, 15 years on, (my stomach just did one of those giant flips of shock as I double-checked whether I had calculated 15 years correctly!) I seem to be consumed by the technological preparations. I know that some of you will be thinking “well, it’s your choice to do it this way, you don’t NEED to take anything other than yourself and a suitcase – it is about creating memories”. This is completely true.
However, after my initial reluctance to embrace technology, I have come to realise the importance of digital communications. As an economics editor by day, I could tell you about how the digital revolution is transforming the lives of people across the world, especially in Africa, helping to lift people out of poverty and contributing to economic growth. In a way, I realise I am in a privileged position to be even sitting having this digital dilemma!