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As we arrived in Oaxaca after an overnight bus ride from San Cristobal, we couldn’t wait to take off our backpacks and settle in. We found a reasonably priced hostel in the heart of it all and set out to explore the city we had traveled so far through Guatemala and Mexico to see.
This was the first time Quinn and I had stayed in a large city since living in Masaya in Nicaragua. The architecture around us was beautiful and old–we felt like we had just stepped into a European city with Latin flare. The plaza was huge filled with nice expensive restaurants of all kinds–from Italian to traditional Mexican. There were street food vendors everywhere as well as other vendors that sold random things from balloons to magazines. There were also several newspaper/magazine stands, which was something we rarely saw in Central America. There was even a clown act going on in the plaza right outside of the main church, which drew a huge crowd of people from all over town.
The heart of the city was very active with tons of people, but it was also a bit touristy and we (as always) had a craving to find out where all of the locals hung out. We walked around the massive city center in hopes to find a place that felt right to us. Through living in Central America for the past year, Quinn and I oddly felt more comfortable hanging out where the locals did than where most tourists were.
It was a strange concept that seemed contradicting to what we initially thought moving here, but we’ve learned that we are actually more safe when there are less other targets around us. Our natural sense of comfort in the local areas is complimentary of our need to continue to explore and learn about the different cultures around the world.
The journey in Mexico was an eye opener from the very beginning. After visiting three countries throughout Central America with completely different cultures, we became even more curious about other places that we never originally had an urge to explore.
We thought we had seen so much and the truth was, we had relative to what we had known before we moved. The more you travel, however, the more you see what little you know.
We enjoyed taking in the beautiful plaza and old church the main part of town provided us, but our young and naive minds craved seeking risks and different lifestyles unfamiliar to us. As we walked around Oaxaca, we had an undeniable urge to get out of our comfort zone. We kept walking for miles past busy streets and even over a highway. Then we found it: the local market. And it was massive.