Scenes from around Bahías de Huatulco, a coastal town in the state of Oaxaca, known for its nine, beautiful bays and ocean-fresh seafood.
Well gang, it’s officially been a month in Mexico.
Four weeks ago, I landed in Mexico City, unsure of what I would encounter but incredibly excited for the vastness of possibility.
Four cities, a small gaggle of new friends and a roller coaster of emotions later, I feel like a new person in some ways — one who is constantly re-establishing her needs, wants and personality in new places and with new acquaintances, often in a new language. The normalcy of routine is gone, but in its place have come so many lessons, realizations and a small understanding of life lived in different cities and towns — ranging from trivial to enlightening.
Here’s some of what I’ve learned:
Enrique came upstairs to where I was drinking coffee, his eyes dancing.
“Venga conmigo,” he said, come with me. “I have something to show you.”
Downstairs, on the back patio of my Airbnb host’s cocina, was a white styrofoam cooler, overflowing with bright pink fish, their sleek tails and scales gleaming in the morning sun.
Travel around Mexico long enough and you’ll find that big, vibrant markets are one of the country’s calling cards.
Markets, here, are part of daily life, operating as shopping destinations, social hangouts and community support systems. Walk through a given market and you’re likely to see families eating, watching sports on TV, playing cards, caring for their children, cooking and sewing.
But in Oaxaca de Juárez, especially, this wealth is elevated to another level, thanks to its enormous bounty of wares.
The city, a quaint, walkable town with just 300,000 residents, is known for its craftsmanship — wood and leather goods, pottery and textiles among them — and its art. It is the Mecca of mezcal. And the food that originates here, from sweet black mole to tlayudas to fried grasshoppers, is unique, varied and flavorful.
As a result, sprawling markets seemingly wait around every corner, particularly in the south end of town. And all of them are just a little bit different.
Here are 7 markets to know before you go: