It's time for me to leave Mexico and head towards pastures new. For the next few months Tall Travels will once again become as travel blog as I journey overland to Colombia and Ecuador through Central America.
I want to live in a European city again to have the opportunity to take in some new culture and meet more people. Spain is close to home, somewhere new, and somewhere warm and I can continue improving my language skills. I'll look for a job there.
I feel more drawn to Spain than 'pushed out of' or 'fed up with' Oaxaca and feel like it's the right time to go. Here are my notes on a country that I'll definitely have fond memories of. Mexico.
The things I'll miss:
I'll miss the hospitality. Families here are very welcoming and never let you leave without several big meals.
I'll miss kids running out into the road shouting "Oh my god. Oh my GOD!" when I go running.
I'll miss the crazy culture. Lucha Libre, narco ballads, worshipping a saint of death yet all with strong Christian values. Go figure.
2. The food -I'll miss corn on the cob in the zocalo for 12 pesos.
I'll miss those big breakfasts.
I'll miss late night tacos and I'll definitely miss the smell of tortillas!
I'll miss cheap cold Corona with lime.
3. The travelling -
I'll miss being bumped around in the back of a pickup.
I'll miss instantly available taxis for 5 pesos.
I'll miss feeling like cars are a luxury.
4. The news -
I'll miss the stream of crazy news stories.
I'll miss the fact that a goat can be elected mayor and that a man can marry an alligator.
I'll miss the fact that the #1 felon in the world can escape prison on a motorbike through an air conditioned tunnel . . . and then the country just makes jokes about it.
5. The job -
I'll miss the students. What the hell am I going to write about if my next students are really smart?
I'll miss the view from my office window.
I'll miss having a drink with my colleagues in tiny crappy bars.
I'll miss how the students made me improve as a teacher every day.
I'll miss the office larks.
6. The sights -
I'll miss the amazing mountain landscapes.
I'll miss the bus trip to Oaxaca. Two hours of great views.
I'll miss the colonial cities and all the cool stuff you can do there.
I'll miss Oaxaca's beaches, the best in Mexico.
I'll even miss Miahuatlán, the weird little place where you have to make own fun to avoid insanity.
7. The sounds -
I'll miss bustle of the market on Mondays
I'll miss the awesome tune with a cow's "moo!" that the gas truck plays.
I'll miss the familiar oom-pah-pah of the brass instruments in the ever present band music.
8. The way of life-
I'll miss the slow pace of life.
I'll miss the fact that things are always open, because all businesses are run out of people's houses.
I'll miss that people don't care about money, or the judgement of others.
I'll miss seeing people taking their pig for a walk, or going to the corner shop on a horse.
The things I won't miss:
I won't miss drunk barrys lying in the street asking me for ten pesos for more mezcal.
I won't ask fielding questions about a) my height or b) how far England is by aeroplane.
I won't miss clowns and other street performers hassling me in the street.
I won't miss the Spanglish shouts of "oye bro, whatchu doing man?" and being labelled a gringo.
2. The transport -
I won't miss of speed bumbs. Topes are my number 1 pet peeve here because anyone can build them, so there are millions. Can you imagine speed bumps on a motorway? . . . well you've just imagined Mexico.
I won't miss seat belts being a luxury.
I won't miss the travel delays. Ryanair isn't that bad people.
3. The social problems -
I won't miss the teachers' strikes, the marches and the constant road blockades.
I won't miss watching people putting up with rampant police and government corruption.
I won't miss the way some wealthy Mexicans look down on the indigenous and the poorly educated.
4. The noise -
I won't miss the omnipresent terrifying explosions of fireworks.
I won't miss the 6 a.m. construction noise wake ups.
I won't miss the whistling, car beeping and other stupid noises people make to attract attention (rather than using words).
I won't miss that noise isn't considered a pollution, or even an inconvenience to others.
5. The 'second world' mentality -
I won't miss seeing Mexico tearing up its national parks and selling off its natural resources for a quick buck.
I won't miss companies taking advantage of people with 'buy now pay later' offers.
I won't miss the total absence of 'health & safety' and political correctness.
and of course, I won't miss Mexican Logic!!!
I have a few goals for travel my upcoming travels, and think them more likely to achieve if I write them here:
- Not to rush - I want to be able to relax and take my time if I find a place I like. I've got 3 months, so I shouldn't have to travel too fast.
- To give something back - Whether I volunteer somewhere, stay with someone a while, help someone out of a jam or simply donate money, I want to be less selfish and hopefully make some friends.
- To write something - I've got a million story, book, blog, and song ideas floating around, so why can't I sit down and write any? Three months in Central America will provide enough free time and hopefully inspiration too.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has made my time in Mexico enjoyable. There are too many people to mention. I can honestly say, I have had higher highs in Mexico than anywhere else, and that giving classes at UNSIS was the best job I have ever had. It's time for me to move on to new experiences and to meet new people.
Feel free to check out some of my favourite pictures from Mexico in the album below, and remember to keep following Tall Travels for updates on my current journey.
Good bye Mexico.