Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ethnobotanical Garden Oaxaca

Did a two hours tour around the ethnobotanical garden today. Can't remember a thing the guide told us (It got really hot at some point and it was too many infos at once) but it was a wonderful walk! I was especially taken with the cactuses!





 

Murales

Oaxaca is apparently known for its murales. I love them!





Scary

There is one thing in Oaxaca that scares me, I have to be honest and admit it. It's the police men and their machine guns. OMG. I have never seen so heavy armed police men in my life. And there is not just one guy. No, obviously not. They come in groups of at least 4. Yesterday, they stopped a car driver (no idea why) and they stood all around the poor guy with their machine guns directed not towards the ground, no!, they were directed towards the guy.
It felt like we were in a war or something. Even my friend S., who is American and pretty used to police men wearing big guns, thought that they were overdoing.
Well, I don't care but I am scared and I don't want nothing to do with them.
Just before walking back to my hotel tonight, I stopped at a shop because I wanted to buy some water. And who was before me, standing in line to pay? A police man with his machine gun (luckily pointed towards the ground). Oh my, I didn't know where to look and was pretty relieved when he left!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Mexican Mercado

It's official now: I am a mercado affiocionado. I love the Italien ones, you know that, but the ones in Mexico are just as great. Well, for the food at least, they don't sell much clothes and when, then, .... let's just say, you shouldn't go to a Mexican mercado if you are looking for stylish clothes to wear :-)
The ambiance though was wonderful.
And they sell living chicken and goats - that was like in a circus. I loved it.
S. and I went on this day trip with a private driver, Veronica, S's landlady. It was cool, not only because Veronica is a nice lady and we spent some nice hours together, but also because I got to ask ALL OF MY QUESTIONS. So during the whole mercado I was like: Veronica, what is this? Veronica what is that? Poor girl, by the end of the day she must have been exhausted! She didn't mind though and she was happy that someone was interested in her culture :-)
We got to taste all kind of fruits and we had lunch in a place that reminded me of the places we had lunch at in Asia. You know, some kind of food stall in the middle of nowhere?? The food was great. Veronica choose the menu for me and amongst other (tasty) things I got to ate cactus which was really good. Who would have thought???

Houses of Oaxaca

I love the houses of Oaxaca. I just love them. So colorful. So wonderful. So beautiful





Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mexico

What a flight! It was Zurich - Madrid // Madrid - Mexico City // Mexico City - Oaxaca.
I have been on the road some 20 hours or so (maybe even more - I didn't count).
Well, it's over now, and everything went well. I even got to sleep a couple of hours - I rarely sleep in the plane but this time I slept. Funnily enough, I suddenly woke up as if something had awaken me. I looked out of the window and saw this long line of lights. I checked where we were and yes, it was the Florida Keys seen from above. A wonderful sight. Wonderful. And funnily enough that I had to wake up when we were flying above America!! SMILE

The immigration in Mexico was funny (I don't know how to describe it otherwise!) but went fast. The immigration officer wasn't particularly interested. But then came the connecting flight to Oaxaca. Well, let's just say that I am quite glad that I at least understand a tiny bit of Spanish because not many of the guys spoke English. I ran from one point to the other and back to the first point. I got nervous when at 6am I still hadn't checked in and the line was super long at the counter. My flight was supposed to leave at 6.45. Do you know what the guy said: no te preocupe (don't worry). In the western world we check in 2 / 3 hours before departure time and all HE had to say was: no te preocupe. But, on the other hand, at this exact moment, I knew I had arrived. And he was right by the way. I shouldn't have worried. I checked in, arrived at the gate 15 minutes prior departure (running obviously) and ... there wasn't even a guy at the gate yet. SMILE. I will have to put aside my European anxiety these next couple of weeks. No te preocupe. My new motto SMILE.
And I totally stopped worrying when, sitting in my third plane of my trip, I looked out of the window and saw my luggage being hauled into the airplane (as my biggest fear for this trip had been that I would be without luggage the first days!).

Oaxaca is a pretty city, with a Spanisch flair. I felt immediately at home and S., my friend from Chicago is a wonderful guide. We have some pretty nice plans for the next couple of days and I can't wait to discover everything. I already met some of her Canadian / American friends and had some pretty good laughs already. This is gonna be good. I feel it.
Tomorrow we are gonna go to a mercado and to a pottery.

And, before I forget: it's warm outside. No, not warm, it got pretty hot actually. And tonight I went out without any jacket. Me gusta mucho :-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hasta la vista, baby!

I am all packed up and ready to leave for the airport. JFYI: I've packed summer clothes only :-)

So, for the time being there is nothing left to be said besides  ...

HASTA LA VISTA!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vite fait!

Vite fait ... is French for ... quickly done.
That must have been my state of mind back in November when coming back from Asia.
Not only didn't I iron my clothes, no, I did a poor job in cleaning up my sneakers and flip-flops as well. I hadn't noticed until today, obviously, as I haven't been wearing any sneakers these last three months and flip-flops even less so SMILE. I noticed today because I am starting to prepare the stuff I want to take to Mexico and was surprised to see that the soles of my shoes were ... red, like the soil back in Cambodia!

As I have never had any desire to be Martha Stewart (not even remotely so!! hahahaha), finding this red soil today pleased me. It remined me of Cambodia and that was nice :-)

Our World ... is enlightened


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Oh shoot!

Shoot, shoot, shoot. I totally forgot that I didn't iron my summer clothes back in November, after my Asian trip. Shoot. I remember thinking: I don't need the stuff right now and I will deal with it before leaving for Mexico in March! (seemed so far away and in November I was soooo busy at my two jobs that I had no energy left to do some ironing).
Well, I completely forgot about it. Until a few minutes ago while looking into the lower part of my closet (where the summer stuff is) and suddenly realizing ... that not one piece was ironed!

Well, looking forward to a couple of hours of ironing this weekend!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Let's start the journey!

I am ready. I am ready to travel to Mexico. Next week, already. Can you believe it? I hardly can...

But I am ready. I have made all my hotel reservations (as usual at the latest possible moment hahahaha) and now all I need are some Pesos. And to get my bag packed.
Cool.
Can't wait to see new places. Meet new people (and some known ones - like my friend S whom I will be meeting in Oaxaca). Use the few Spanish words I have learned (hahahaha - it will be soooo funny! Me and my Spanish knowledge... hahahha). Get to know a part of the world where I haven't traveled to yet.
Oh my, I am excited - but you got that, right?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Wishes vs Reality

I am planning my upcoming trip to Mexico (I am leaving in less than 2 weeks!!!). I am planning all the details, like in which hotel I'll be staying, are there any buses that will bring me from a to b, etc. etc.
It's the part of traveling that I like a bit less. (Just a bit though.) It's because at this stage of the planning my ideas / wishes / desires for a trip (sometimes) collide with the harsh reality (of a place or my budget usually).

Like this upcoming Mexico trip that I had imagined as follows:

1) 8 nights in Oaxaca (staying with my friend S. from Chicago) and visiting places all around
2) travelling to Mérida (staying 3 days and visiting the temples of Yucatan)
3) travelling Tulum and staying a bit longer (6 days), visiting some temples but mostly to just enjoy the beach (and I already saw myself in a hotel near the sea - waking up to the waves)

So much for my wishes.

Reality just got the best of me. I found a hotel in Oaxaca, one in Merida. No probs. The one in Merida was so cheap, I couldn't believe my eyes.
But then, Tulum (beach) was another story. Who knew that there were just a few places to stay at the beach? And the few places (obviously) know they are special and have according prices. It left me speechless. 2,5 stars for 200 Dollars a night????? You got to be kidding me!!! 200 USD for a shared bath???????
It was a totally sobering experience.
Then I started thinking about splitting my 6 nights into 3 nights in an (totally expensive) hotel at the beach and 3 nights in Tulum city (which, BTW, is only about 20 minutes by bicycle from the sea).
I looked up the expensive hotels (mostly resorts) and I started having doubts.
Did I really want to stay in a resort???? With all the couples and the romantic atmospere??  In addition, these places are really far away from everything that, if you don't have a car, you'll be stuck there. Did I really want this? Would I really feel OK doing so?
I got frustrated and put aside everything to sleep on it.
I woke up this morning knowing that my stay in Tulum would be different from what I had imagined.
I want to spend time on the beach.
I want to take long walked along the beach.
But I don't want to spend my days JUST at the beach.
I want to stroll around the streets.
Having dinner in nice cafés / restaurants.
Talk to people.
So, I decided on a hotel that looks very nice and is a short hop from the beach (like I said, 20 minutes by bicycle - this is gonna be my daily workout!!). And with the money I am saving ... I will be able to do a weekend trip to Madrid :-)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Shopping ... this time for real!

I had been complaining about my clothes - remember? - a couple of weeks back, or, to be accurate, of the lack of new clothes during this endless and cold and snowy winter.
Well, I am not complaining any longer SMILE

I went shopping yesterday and this time I even got to spend my hard earned money BIGGER SMILE.

I had been looking for some gray jeans. I had been looking for a long time now but never found the ideal shade. Too dark-gray. Or too light-gray. Or then the pant legs were too long or too skinny or too ... whatever you can think of.
No gray jeans for me ... until yesterday. I found the perfect shade of gray on sale! Do you believe it? Me who doesn't like sale time??
Anway. I am a happy girl and I have finally some new trousers to put on during these endless, cold and snowy winter days. Well, I bought another pair of jeans as well and some really cool biker boots. So, I am a happy girl. A happy girl even though these endless, cold and snowy winter days are getting on my nerves - but I think you got that, right? My repeating "cold", "endless" and "snowy" a couple of times help, right?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Life

I have no idea what is going on with me. Maybe it's due to winter. The harsh weather. The cold temperatures. The dark days and the long nights.
Maybe.
Maybe it's just me and my ... being me. Thinking too much.
Maybe.
Fact is, these days, I have been thinking about life. In general and about mine in particular.
My blog cries out loud: live the life you image!
Paper (and the web even more so) is very patient. Words are easily written down or spoken out loud.
The question is: Do I really live the life I imagine? Do I???

Put it on winter depression (SMILE) but bear with me a second, OK?
The question I am asking myself is not only "do I live the life I imagine or want?". It goes further. What IS life actually? What are we on this earth for? Most of us, and let's be brutally honest here, just live a normal life. An everyday life.
With family and friends.
Some of us have husbands/wifes or kids or pets. Others just themselves.
We work.
Some travel.
Some do sports.
Or any other kind of hobby.

So far so good. But then what's the meaning of it all? IS there even a meaning at all?

I don't know. Maybe it's like C.S. Lewis said (see quote above). Maybe life is too deep to put into words. Or a meaning.
Maybe everyday life IS NOT about life at all.
Maybe life is about yourself. Your own persona.
How you are. With yourself. With the others. With your better half.
What you think.
How you act (with family. with friends. with neighbors. with the people you meet in the bus. with nature.)

And maybe it's about evolving. Facing our issues. Facing whatever barrier life is putting on our way. And going on with a smile on our face. Enjoying every minute of it.

Or maybe I just should stop thinking too hard.


Traveling


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Our World ... Flows


Snowy weekends

No shopping this weekend. I wanted to go. Really. But then it started snowing and I was reading this thriller (that I was unable to put away!) and yes, well, you got it. No shopping.
I will have to do with what I have in my closet.
And wait for a sunny weekend :-)

PS: I am glad that January is over. I don't particularly like January. It's such a long month and after December with all the lights and the frenzy, January always seems so ... dark and dull. I am glad it's over!