Daily Living in Oaxaca

balloon sellers in the zócalo
There are few jobs in Oaxaca. Many of the people are vendors paid a few pesos to sell clothing, food
and balloons in the zócalo and in the mercados. There are not many tourists and ex-pats
do not buy souvenirs. As I have spent time here before, I will not be buying souvenirs either. There is obviously a lot of competition for those few pesos. 

Consequently, everyday groceries are very inexpensive by my (Canadian) standards. I walked to the Soriana store to buy dish soap, fruit and vegetable rinse, paper towel, cheese, turkey ham, mayonnaise.
shampoo (LOreal), lemonade, laundry soap and a few other personal items. The bill was less than $20
Canadian for two bags of groceries.

I visited the IV Centenario market where I bought 3 tomatoes, 2 avocados, and an onion for 5 pesos. ($0.42) I will soak the produce in disinfectant wash to prevent tummy troubles. I soak them for a few minutes, rinse them in potable water and put them in the fridge. I find Mexican food quite rich so I like to have a salad with a bit of ham or cheese at home.
The market was clean but quite deserted.
I wandered past the Basilica and the Benito Juarez University on my way home. Education is definitely 
the answer to the economic problems in this part of Mexico.
Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
There are so many beautiful churches in Oaxaca. Benito Juarez, a Oaxaqueño who became President,
severely curtailed the power of the Catholic Church and confiscated the church properties. In spite of those reforms, Oaxaca is a city of churches and religious festivals. I'm looking forward to experiencing
Semana Santa.

Oaxaca is a city full of colour, sounds and smells. We are in the dry season so there is little water.  Warm water is available for a few hours a day in my apartment. The water from the tap is not potable so I have use a garrafon (like a keg) for my drinking water. The ones that I've used before had a tap but I seem to need to lift this one to pour the water out. Madame Muscles!!!

Hygiene is so different from home! You can't flush the toilet paper so you just put it in the waste bin. Fine when there's only one person! Fortunately, a lady came to collect la basura  (garbage) this afternoon. At my other apartment, there were bins that I could visit discreetly.

After just one day, my life at home seems somewhat frivolous. I will be wearing the same clothes many days here and no one will notice. There is no hair dryer nor did I see one in the Soriana Mercado. I will have natural curls every day. Many of the women have long braided hair and wear traditional clothing. Contemporary women of my age wear skirts with stockings. Few wear hats or sunglasses.

After a day, I am getting acclimatized to life here and I am ready to meet with the volunteer coordinator at the library tomorrow.


  1. I have been enjoying your posts from Mexico. I hope you will continue them. I was in Oaxaca 40 or so years ago. We also spent a month in Chiapas.

  2. Oaxaca is an amazing place! I would imagine that it has not changed very much in 40 years. I have a friend who did Latin American studies in Chiapas 35 years ago and loved it.


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