I took a little trip a couple of weeks ago, to Oaxaca. I’ve been living in Mexico for over 4 years now, and while I’ve visited Guadalajara, San Miguel de Allende, and Mexico City, I haven’t really traveled around my adopted country that much. Since I now have an old friend (Doug Long, whom I’ve known for a LONG time, starting back in Honolulu in the late 70s) living in Oaxaca, I decided I should check it out.
(NOTE: Oaxaca is the name of the city and the state. On this trip I visited only the city.)
Everyone was telling me where I should go and what I should do because Oaxaca is quite a cultural center. Plus their artisans and crafts are among the best in Mexico. But even though I’m an artist, that sort of thing doesn’t really interest me. I like to go to a place and just hang out, get a feel for the place, and basically do my work in a new setting. I don’t like going to the touristy things. The idea of taking a guided tour with a bunch of other tourists sounds to me like the stuff of nightmares.
So mostly I just worked on a new project (a Marcus book) and did a lot of drawing while sitting in this great coffee shop I discovered, right around the block from my hostel, called the Jaguar Yúu café. In the above photo you can see my workspace–with a cup of amazing Oaxacan hot chocolate on hand! They took very good care of me at the Jaguar Yúu, and I even met an artist from Mexico City who was doing an exhibition there, and went to the opening night. Plus I got a lot of work done.
This is what makes me happy—going to a new, interesting place, and doing the work I love (whether drawing or creating on the computer) in a new and different setting. So that’s what I did in Oaxaca.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t do quite a bit of walking around and exploring. That’s part of the fun for me. I don’t like doing the touristy things but I do like walking around and soaking up the ambience of a place.
The most touristy thing I did was to visit the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, which is in the Santo Domingo Church, which is a huge, grand building (photo above).
That was really cool and interesting. I was alone so I could skip the stuff that didn’t interest me and just spend time looking at what did. But totally worth the 75 pesos entry fee.
I also went to a few gay bars with Doug, and that was fun. And we ate at a lot of different restaurants and I got a sense of Oaxacan food, which is justly famous.
Overall I was really impressed with what a sophisticated and artsy scene Oaxaca is. I could see why my friend Doug decided to settle there.
Next trip? I’m thinking—Mérida!