My Favorite City In Mexico – Oaxaca

Contrary to what Tree would have you believing, there is more to Oaxaca then just its mezcal. Don’t get me wrong, mezcal is huge, but it’s not everything. After having spent two full days at Casa Raab in front of my computer, I decided that I needed to get out and explore Oaxaca city.

Tree had a lot of Outdoorplay work to catch up on so I was alone in this mission. Rebecca was kind enough to give me a quick ride into the village of San Pablo Etla, where I caught a small moto taxi (picture a moped with a backseat) to the bus stop.  While I was waiting for the bus, a family came out of its house and insisted that I move into the shade and share a beer with them. For the next twenty minutes we discussed various topics, but mostly the conversation kept boomeranging back to mezcal. The husband and wife each seemed to have a different opinion about what the alcohol percentage should be and which one’s hometown makes it the best. To settle the argument, the wife thought that I should take a two-hour ride to her village in the hills, so I could in fact see for myself that she was right. Like I said, mezcal is huge, but I swear, it’s not everything.

Okay, so what is everything? It’s fresh cut flowers, fine art galleries, smart graffiti, street performers, intricate embroidery, wizard weaving, live music, morbid sculpture, hand-made animal toothpicks, a temperate climate, classic architecture, mole in multi colors, lively markets, green pottery, diverse peoples, grass root programs, and fried grasshoppers. Somehow, this landlocked city, surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountain range, sequestered away from its slicker, urban neighbors, appeals to my sense of the dirty, decadent, and divine (see pictures below). Despite its isolation and hovering geography, its cultural expression is more expansive and inspiring to me than any other part of Mexico. I walked around for hours soaking up the bright colors and bold flavors, and by the end of the day, I too felt bright and bold. Hell, I even ate a grasshopper.  
 Temple Santo Domingo 

The entire inside of the Temple is inlaid with gold
Gorgeous fresh cut flowers permeate the Zocolo (plaza) and markets

 Oaxaca is famous for its textiles (the women are AMAZING weavers and embroiders)

Graffiti portrait of Emiliano Zapata

Woman Shitting- framed in art gallery

Vagina made of thimbles- think about that

Familia de los Muertos

Oaxaca is famous for its Moles, a delicious sauce made of ground chocolate and chilies
Chocolate grinder, Assortment of chilies                                                                                                     

Fried Grasshopper, tastes like chicken 

Thank you again Tony and Rebecca for giving us an incredible room with a comfy bed and a wood burning fireplace, two fresh and delicious meals a day, an education in mezcal,  a Kiki repair kit, and hours of great conversation. We highly recommend Casa Raab if you’re planning on being in the Oaxaca area.  Also, aside from running a palenque (mezcal distillery) and a bed and breakfast, Rebecca founded an animal rescue called the Megan House, She has placed over 600 dogs in the Oaxaca area, 10 of which live at Casa Raab along with horses, burros, cats, and a silly bunny. Donations are always needed and appreciated. Stevie

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  1. Your description sounds amazing. I want to head straight for Oaxaca. Everything looks brilliant. I so love reading about your adventures… and your adventurous spirit is inspiring!!

  2. and we thought Grasshopper was just a cocktail!

  3. Oaxaca – I think I'll stop there on my way to Peru next fall! You make it sound so wonderful. If its YOUR favorite Stevie, then I'm saving my pennies for the big trip!

  4. Anonymous says:

    – little lava

  5. So great to see that you got to Casa Raab!!!! How could we have forgotten to tell you about it? We “lived” down the road a block or two in the back yard of our friend’s rented house and got a visit in with them.
    OK, now we’re going to have to go back. Itching to go out and explore some more. To hell with sitting around SMA! (But we are enjoying all the Gringo culture). But forgot how much it lacks. Like they say, “San Miguel is nice because it’s so close to Mexico”. If you’re able to find her, a tour with Linda or Carol? Miller vale la pena. Rebecca would know—or maybe she can give a better tour.
    Que te cuides,
    Joyce Carlson

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