I ain’t got no saints or saviors

Do I want to travel or do I want to get rid of debt? That is a hard question because I want both! I’m still planning the Asheville, NC trip for May. As long as I have my job, that is on. But I have three days off in October and I’ve been listening to travel podcasts (damn them). I was thinking maybe I could sneak a trip in then? I went to Oaxaca, Mexico with only 3 days off and the weekend so I don’t mind a short trip.

I was looking up prices for hotels in Puerto Vallarta. Whoa, overwhelm! I was seriously paralyzed just thinking about everything I would have to figure out. I went to Oaxaca on 6 weeks notice (and no passport). But this would be less than 3 weeks of planning. I don’t even know exactly where I want to stay (beach or downtown?) and what I want to do. It was fun dreaming for a while. but I think paying off debt wins. I was even thinking of taking a cheaper trip to the beach, but that doesn’t excite me even though I haven’t been to the beach in a couple of years. I don’t want to get away just to get away.

It’ll really be great later on when I have no debt. I can’t wait to never use credit cards again. My goal is 5 years until I don’t own a credit card. Hopefully more like 3 years. So I’ll just stay home. It isn’t like I don’t have things to do.

———-

When I went to the doctor on Monday, the person up front showed a lot of interest in wanting to work where I work. I get that a lot. Fortune 50 company. Yes, Fortune 50. Not missing a zero. That is probably TMI. Anyway,  these people have no idea how much pressure it is to work there. And I’m not even trying to climb the corporate ladder. I wouldn’t want that pressure. I can’t tolerate that pressure. I don’t blame my company for the most part. There are ::clears throat:: other people playing a factor here…if you get my vague drift. It wasn’t always this way. Everything changes.

She asked a bunch of questions about working there and I answered them honestly. I should probably stop doing that. She really wants to work there. Work wasn’t bad this week. No long hours. AND NO WORK THIS WEEKEND. 🙂 🙂 Two weekends in a row? WOW.

Speaking of doctors – Now I feel like I have to go back to the OB/GYN. They keep calling me! Okay, they only called twice. But I dunno.They are so nice. I might go back in 3 years. No sooner than that for sure. Maybe I will have had sex by then…NOT. 😉 I just don’t see the point of getting a pap smear if I’m not sexually active. It’s pointless. And I don’t do anything without a reason. Especially something painful.

This week I…

Music of the week: Jewel, Leona Lewis, Carly Rae Jepsen, Selena Gomez, Maddie & Tae, The Weeknd, Shura, Ariana Grande

Song of the week: Leona Lewis – Thunder

I love the new Leona Lewis. I’m glad this album was released in the United States unlike one of her others.

TV of the week: Big Brother, Republican Debate, The Fosters, Last Week Tonight w/John Oliver

Re: Republican Debate – I love Carly’s confidence. Ben Carson isn’t made for debates. Donald couldn’t answer the foreign policy question. That was a major fail.  That was the longest debate ever and it wasn’t that interesting. I don’t think the Democrats should add more debates (they have 6 scheduled), but they should have moved up the first debate, IMO. But then Biden would miss it…if he decides to run.

Movies of the week:  I watched Wild. Hated the book, the movie was dull to me. I’m not impressed with people voluntarily doing hard things and then calling them a hero or brave. I like hearing of people overcoming the odds. That makes me a fan of the underdog I guess.

I might watch Selma this weekend.

Books of the week: I finally finished Maybe Someday by Collen Hoover. 371 pages. It didn’t become a page turner until around page 160. I kid you not. I almost gave up. Too romance for me. Too predictable.

Still reading: The Power of 100! Kickstart Your Dreams, Build Momentum, and Discover Unlimited Possibility  (page 140) by Shaun King  and  Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross (65% through) by Craig Seymour It is taking me so long to read The Power of 100 because I’ve decided to do the exercises which I wasn’t planning on, but he is so motivational. I was just reading the book out of curiosity and now I’m working on a word document. lol. I do plan on posting that document on this blog when I get done. It is taking me so long to read the Luther book because it isn’t a library book.

Planner update:

plans of the week

plans of the week

A week from Saturday, I’m taking my test to keep my certification. I have studied about 2 hours. That is pathetic and won’t do. I could get lucky and pass. I get two chances so I’m just winging it the first time. It is a hard test to study for. Anyway, I’m going to attempt to study for it this weekend. That is my main goal.

Vegas: Day 3 & 4

My favorite day (day 2) is here.

Day 3 and 4:  The best thing about being on east coast time is being able to easily get up early -without an alarm clock- and experience The Strip. It was so quiet and hardly anyone was out. It was great. I experienced the fountains at The Bellagio at 8AM.

fountains

fountains

I didn’t go anywhere for breakfast. I brewed some coffee and ate leftovers from The Mirage buffet. Then I walked to the Bellagio and enjoyed the pop music while watching the fountain show. Then I went to Ceasers. I wasn’t planning on going there but that place is so huge and I’d walked by it the day before. I was intrigued. This is how I got into trouble. It is a nice place…and the casino was quiet. UGH! Yes I gambled and lost everything. ($23).

After feeling like a loser, I went back to the hotel to get ready for the timeshare presentation. Of course I was nervous but it wasn’t that bad. I think they saw I was solo and didn’t feel like wasting time with pressure. I had a lot in common with the lady who showed me the models. There must be a rule about not having silences because I’m the hardest person to have a conversation with but somehow she did it. 😉 I told her about Oaxaca City, Mexico. (She’d never heard of it). Both of us like Bebe but only one of us can afford to shop there. 😦

I went back to my hotel room feeling relieved. I probably will have a timeshare one day but I don’t have the money now. My legs were still hurting from the day before. I really wanted to walk to Aria or the Fashion Show Mall but my feet would not allow it. So I looked up the bus schedule online and found it was only 3 stops away. There was hope. I made it to the bus stop, got on the bus and asked “Is it two dollars?”. “No it is six”. I got off the bus because I only had $4 with me. So no Fashion Show Mall for me.

I was so desperate I went to Planet Hollywood’s casino to try to win 2 dollars! I didn’t. I lost all $4 and “won” 85 cents. 😦

I think I just chilled in the hotel room and watched the news (I’m addicted). Because I went to the timeshare presentation, I got free VIP tickets to a show and free dinner. Thankfully going there wasn’t a far walk so I put my little black dress on  (again) and I got ready for the show and dinner. I chose Cheeseburger Las Vegas for dinner. The service was sooo slow. I barely had time to eat. I had to take half of my food to the show in a container.

greasy food

greasy food

I am proud to report that now I’m back on my #NoRedMeat (or pork) diet. Anyhow, then I went to Hitzville (Broadway tribute show). I was late. I had a second row aisle seat. The show was great. I didn’t film anything because I knew they were trying to sell DVDs and I would’ve felt bad. There was a lot of talent on that stage. They sang Diana Ross (my fave!), Aretha Franklin, Four Tops, Temptations, Tina Turner and more.

After the show, I had to pack. The next day I was leaving Las Vegas.

Day four

I woke up at 5AM (east cost thang) ate my leftovers from Cheesburger LV and drank alcohol. I never drank alcohol in the morning. It was great. 🙂

Day 4 was all about travel. I will try my best to NEVER use United again. The self check in kiosk didn’t work. I had to stand in a very long line. I would have missed my plane if it weren’t for a nice guy who insisted I tell people that my plane was leaving soon. I went there with American Airlines and had zero problems but United…I will try to avoid them in the future.

Overall, Las Vegas was a nice trip. I love new experiences. I can’t wait to go there with my mom but I’d rather go somewhere else for my next solo trip. The major thing I learned  is to TAKE MORE CASH. lol. I only brought enough to tip. I was planning on using my debit/credit card for most things. I wasn’t planning on taking buses or taxis.

The end. (Finally)

Vegas Day 2 – It’s Britney, bitch!

I’m going in chronological order so the Britney section is in the second half of this post. Btw, day one is here.

I was on east coast time so I woke up at 4AM PST. The first thing on the agenda was the Bellagio Buffet. I had NO IDEA that my hotel was right across from The Bellagio. I thought I had a long walk. So I left at 6AM with a lot of time before the restaurant opened. I took this time to read (“Still Alice”) and take pictures. I was standing right across from Planet Hollywood and couldn’t contain my excitement for Britney:

Britney Spears

Britney Spears

I had many hours and many adventures before I would see Britney… Breakfast @ the Bellagio. I had no idea that they seat you. I thought you could pick where you wanted to sit. The food and service was good but when they crammed all the solo diners together, that made me very uncomfortable so I left. I had people on both sides of me. AWKWARD. I’m so glad I got to eat something before the other person came. I wanted dessert and maybe more pancakes 🙂 but the seating ruined that. I would only go back if I was with someone else. I will never dine there alone again.

After breakfast, I went back to the hotel to watch news and relax before my big walk to The Mirage to see the dolphins and tigers.

The Mirage

But first I went to Kardashian Khaos (closing October 30th). I brought a mug and a guitar pick. The mug was only $5 (on sale to get rid of inventory) and it is huge. If I had more room, I would have brought at least two.

I didn’t take any photos of the dolphins only video. 😦 (I can’t upload videos on here with my account). Watching the dolphins was the most relaxing part of my trip. I spent 45 minutes doing that. Then I went to see the tigers. I did take photos of the tigers.

tiger

tiger

Then I went to The Mirage buffet for take out. The food was good. I think most of the buffets in Vegas are for seafood lovers and I’m not one of those so…blah. Then I tried to relax on the sofa until 3:00 and headed out to The Luxor for the Titanic exhibit. Oh my. What a freaking walk! Thank god they had a free tram. It was so confusing. I’m glad other people were there trying to do the same thing. I was lost and almost gave up.

The Titanic exhibit was nice and sad (of course). I definitely recommend it. They had real artifacts from the ship. No photos or videos allowed. After that even though my feet were beginning to hurt, I went on to Mandalay Bay since the tram went there. That place is huge and the aquarium is all the way in the back. My feet were begging me at this point to stop but I kept going.

I’d read reviews of the aquarium and wasn’t expecting much but it was nice. I’d go again.

buddha

buddha

I had to take a pic of a Buddha in a fish tank. Nice touch. 😉 One more photo cause I love fish:

fishy!

fishy!

They had sharks, snakes, the cutest turtles, sting rays etc.

By this time my feet and legs were killing me. PLUS I had overdosed on Afrin. Long story. I’ll try to shorten it. My cold came back I couldn’t find the children’s medicine I usually take so instead of walking to Walgreens to get it, I went to the ABC store and all they had was Afrin which I had never used before. I sprayed too much because I couldn’t feel it and I was dizzy. At this point, I knew I couldn’t walk all the way back to my hotel. I didn’t know taxis accept credits cards in Vegas so I foolishly used the ATM. The fees. The FEES!

Anyway, as I was waiting for someone else to use the ATM, I felt so dizzy, I thought I would faint. All I could think of was: I cannot faint right now, not before I see Britney Spears. I was sure someone was going to have to call an ambulance. Obviously that did not happen. I got money from the ATM, walked as far as I could, got a taxi and took some pain killers when I got to the hotel room.

I relaxed for a couple of hours, took a shower, put my little black dress on and got ready for Ms. Spears. When I got there I was the only one in the section even though it was 15 minutes until show time. I wondered would I get to talk to any Brit fans and I did! The woman beside me was solo too so we talked. This was her second time seeing Brit. She saw her on the “Circus” tour. (This was my first time). This was the closest I’ve ever been to a club experience. I loved it. At first I was extremely apprehensive and barely moved. But then the other people moved closer to the pit while I stayed back near my seat by myself and danced! It was a great experience.

Enough about me. What about Britney? She was amazing! She was so happy. She smiled a lot. She isn’t always like this so I felt extremely lucky to be there when Brit was in a good mood. I made eye contact with smiley Britney. OMG. !!!111!!! I almost died. It was so surreal. The whole night. This pic was taken right after the eye contact:

Queen of pop

Queen of pop

The band was great. I didn’t like all of the versions of the songs. My favorite was “Til the World Ends”. I thought “Circus” and other songs fell a little flat. I just didn’t really like the arrangements. Brit interacted with the crowd and actually acknowledged we were there! I was not expecting that at all from other reviews. So many people talk about her being robotic and dead in the eyes. Well she was fine on October 15.

I could go on. Here is a video of Britney performing Womanizer:

Would I go see her show again? If I go to Vegas within the next two years, it would crush me to not see her again but I might want to see something else. If she releases another album (I’m sure she will) then I will want to see her again because the setlist will be different. This is all up to when my mom wants to go and when I have money. I’m not going back alone…but Britney is worth it. Another pic:

Godney

Godney

After the show, I went back to my hotel and smiled myself to sleep. 🙂 Day 3 & 4 coming together in the next post. Day two was my favorite day despite how it ended with me barely being able to walk.

Vegas: Day one

Um, I said I would probably never go back to Vegas. Well now my mom REALLY wants to go so guess who is going with her…moi. The trip will probably happen in the next 2-3 years. I would not return on my own. But going with someone else when it is their first trip is kind of cool.

Day 2 was my favorite day. On day 1 not much happened. I fell (horizontally) on the tram at the airport in Dallas. No one asked if I was okay. Some people laughed. Anyhow getting to Vegas wasn’t that bad. The 3 hour time difference sort of threw me. I went to bed at 7pm PST! I woke up early everyday and pretty much stayed on east coast time during the whole trip.

I followed my itinerary which was the best idea ever. If you go to Vegas, go with a plan. The first thing I did after being on a plane for 5.5 hours was go to the Miracle Mile Mall. The Elara is right next door to it. I know that mall inside and out. I had to walk through it at least 4-5 times a day to get to The Strip. First I went to the ABC store just to check out their prices on souvenirs (affordable!), then I went to Cheeseburger Las Vegas. I went off of my #NoRedMeat (or pork) diet for this trip.  I had a fruity alcoholic beverage and a burger and fries.

tropical sensation

tropical sensation

The food is okay. Nothing special. Due to the location, I would go back. I just had a problem with how long it takes them to prepare the food. I went there twice, at different times of day and both times it took a while.

After that, I checked into the hotel. I could have checked in earlier but I didn’t know that. OMG. I love that hotel so much!! It is soooo nice. There are cheaper places to stay on The Strip but I will only stay at The Elara. Planet Hollywood is right beside it but they seem to cater to a younger crowd which could mean more noise so I’m staying away from there.

love this kitchen

love this kitchen

See that fridge? Everyone who knows me, knows that that is my dream fridge. I ate at the dining room table quite a bit. The kitchen came with a blender, coffee maker, microwave, dishwasher, utensils, plates, cups etc. There is also a washer and dryer in the bathroom and a nice jacuzzi in the bedroom.

I didn’t take pics of the view because I did a video instead.  The view was very nice. I could see the “Eiffiel Tower”, Wynn, Ceasers Palace, etc. from my window. It was awesome at night. On day 3, I had enough of the view and put the projector screen down instead:

big screen living

big screen living

How cool is that? I only watched the news while I was there. Normally I would’ve watched sports but the only sports on were football (which I’m boycotting) and baseball (which I hate) so no sports.

After checking in, I went on a bus tour of The Strip and downtown Las Vegas. I thought downtown would be nice looking but it wasn’t. At all. The tour was okay.  It is something you definitely want to do on day 1 or 2 so you will know where things are. I took a few pics from the bus:

bus tour

bus tour

I could tell the tour guide was getting a little (?) frustrated with me because I wasn’t a talker. I was so thankful when other people got on. When I went downtown, it was only me and another couple on the bus for the whole hour!

And then I went to bed. LOL. Day one was nice. Not a lot happened. I figured I might be tired from travel so I saved most things for day 2.

to be continued….(with much more pics – I didn’t realize I took more videos than pics until I got home)

Vegas: been there. done that.

This is just a quick entry going over a few things that happened in Vegas. I will have 1-3 Vegas posts later (with pics!)

First things first. I did so much walking on Tuesday and Wednesday that by Wednesday night I had to get a taxi back to my hotel. (I made it to New York, New York’s taxi stand). That might not sound horrible but that also meant that I couldn’t walk hardly anywhere on Thursday. I tried to catch the bus to the Fashion Show Mall because I knew there was no way I could walk there but the bus costs $6.00 for two hours. I only had $4.00 cash on me so no TopShop for me. Woe is me.

My feet/legs still have not recovered. If I ever go to Vegas again, I’m going to have to rent a scooter. That might be my #1 reason I never go back there. My other reason I won’t go back there is…..

MONEY. Vegas is for people with money. It disgusts me (not people with money…Vegas). I know that sounds extreme but I just don’t like a place like that for a “vacation”. That’s not how I roll.

Britney Spears. She didn’t half ass the show like she did on October 11th. I was so worried about that. But she was ON and she was happy. To see her happy, made me happy. I don’t think Britney is good at faking it. When she is having a bad day, she sucks at her job just like normal folk. I can’t say I never mailed it in. at work… ::coughFridayBeforeVegascough:: I do feel bad for the fans that traveled to Vegas just to see her and then she just half asses it. Those fans don’t care about The Bellagio or gambling. They come from all over the world just to see her show and then they get a spiritless Brit. That sucks.

More on Britney later.

Oh, I did gamble. FUCK. Worst decision ever. I didn’t know it was so easy to gamble in Vegas. I thought it would be intimidating. Uh, not at all. I easily found spots all to myself to gamble.  I only spent about 15 minutes actually gambling but I did walk around casinos quite a bit. It is impossible to NOT walk through a casino there. I spent  wasted about $27 and won 85 cents (lolz). The second time I was desperately trying to win money so I could take the bus to the Fashion Show Mall.

Overall the trip was okay. The leg pain limited me A LOT. If I had to rank vacation destinations, I would go:

  1. Oaxaca City, Mexico
  2. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  3. NYC
  4. Las Vegas

NYC can be expensive but for me it wasn’t that bad because I found a once in a lifetime hotel deal at The Kimberly Hotel (only a half mile from 5th Avenue). No one could ever get that deal now. They have upgraded all their rooms and nothing is affordable. It is 5 star PLUS now. In New York, you can easily find cheap food and even affordable shopping. In Vegas, it is harder to find affordable stuff on The Strip….if you want the Vegas experience.

One more thing: The Elara hotel was great. I would only stay there. It is mid-strip.  (location, location, location) It has great views. I cannot recommend this hotel enough. More on that too.

I know everyone (ha) has one thing on their minds. How far did you get on your scarf? Well, I couldn’t knit on the plane like I thought I would be able to. OMG. 3 out of 4 of my flights were full. This is only my second airplane experience. My first one I flew on SIX planes (roundtrip) to Oaxaca City, Mexico. and none of the planes were full so it wasn’t that bad. Dude, at this point I never want to get on a plane again. I’m sure I will get over it. But being stuck with no way to get off on a crowded plane….it wasn’t pleasant. I just sat there and closed my eyes. BORING.  I knitted at the airport and in my hotel room (when I couldn’t walk anywhere).

Here is my scarf so far:

vegas scarf

vegas scarf

I’ll be back with Vegas pics later. I’m still sick. I got a second cold on Wednesday without fully recovering from the first one. I think I got sick because I stupidly left the AC on all night. It was freezing. Duh.

Project Life: Oaxaca City

I have my fall sort of planned out. First I gotta move. No big deal, right? I don’t know exactly when that is happening. Then the bead show is next weekend – so excited!!! Plus, I have 2 days off: Friday & Monday. That never happens. All I have to do is get my car inspected that Monday. On December 8 or 9, I will go see Breaking Dawn 2 or Lincoln. I may be daring and see both – not during the same weekend. lol. December/January is my movie going season. It is when the best movies usually come out (re: Oscar movies). I haven’t been to a movie theater since April.

It probably seems like I need more plans but anything else would overwhelm me. I have enough to do day to day.

————–

One thing I love about Project Life is that it encourages me to journal. It isn’t just about pictures. I have journaled my whole Oaxaca City trip in my binder. I did a lot of layouts on my vacation because I don’t take a lot of photos each day so I have more than enough room. I am more of an event kind of girl. I would rather capture something new than document my day to day life. (which is the opposite point of Project Life – heh). But I’m doing both. I can’t wait for 2013. I get to do a full year of PL. 😉

I used my 25 free prints at Persnickety Prints for my photos.  I do not like how my photos came out. I am with Shutterfly.com from here on out. They are very slow but their quality is superb.  I’m probably going to shuffle things around more. I have a few more things I could add…and yes I do have empty spaces. Okay, here are the layouts:

1st page

page 2

3rd page

4th page

project life travel

page 5

project life travel mexico oaxaca

page 6

project life

page 7

(Excuse that snippet of President Obama on Rolling Stone in the background. He had to try to sneak in and ruin my layout!)

As you can see as the pages go on, the more blank spots there are. The pics that are covered are pics of me, btw. I’m so tired of writing and blogging about Oaxaca, that I don’t have much to say. Blah, blah, blah. I wish I could go back for my birthday next May. LOL. Anyone want to pay for my plane ticket? 😉 I can afford a place to stay. That would be so wonderful…but so not happening.

Thanks for looking. I think I will have a ton of pics for next week’s layout. I took a lot of pics today. Then there’s election day and the bead show. But don’t worry, I won’t be doing a PL post soon since I order my pics every 3 months or so. I always make exceptions though. I will probably order my next pics after the 1st week of Jan 2013. #willpower

Oaxaca: Tips

This will be my last all Oaxaca post…I think. I have two other posts: Oaxaca purchases & Day 1 in Oaxaca. Now it is time to share what I learned on my very short trip.

First, if you don’t like sweet food or crafts, skip Oaxaca. Yes it is beautiful but I can’t imagine loving it as much as I did if it weren’t for those two things.

SHOPPING!

I was going to recommend that tourists just skip the Benito Juarez Market. I was going to say it is for the locals, it is crowded, there are dead chickens and fish with heads laying around etc. However, that is exactly why you should go. You will find everything there. EVERYTHING. Shoes, batteries, clothes, flowers, belts, food (I wouldn’t buy it though), and crafts. It is cheap. Go there first before you waste your money elsewhere. If you are an introvert like me, go around 10AM on a weekday. I made the mistake of going there on a weekday around 5PM. But then I ran into it by mistake the next day after breakfast and it was a totally different experience. I didn’t buy much because I had already wasted my money elsewhere.

blue bag from the market

I only brought the blue handbag from the market. I just didn’t want to crop the other stuff out. The picture and necklace, you can get anywhere. People will come up to you and beg you you to buy. Remember go there first! It is huge and is sort of combined with the 20 de Noviembre Market.

*The second place you must go if you cannot make it out to the other valleys is Casa de las Artesanias de Oaxaca. This is a way to support the artists without leaving the main area. Of course, money wise it is better to just go to the villages but I was only there for 3 days so I couldn’t make it. Next time I look forward to actually meeting the artists and buying directly from them. Casa de las Artesanias de Oaxaca sells the items for the artists. The artist gets the money but you are also paying the distributor so the price is a little higher. By the time I found this gem, I was all out of money so I only brought one thing:

handmade bag. LOVE!

It is so nicely made. This is by far my favorite purchase. I will be using this bag a lot. I paid $272 pesos for it. The person who made this bag lives in Yaganiza. I feel great about the purchase because the money is going to the person who made it. Very important to me. Next time I go, I’m just planning on buying handbags and Xmas gifts. 😉

Getting a taxi from your hotel:

Do not bother booking one in advance. I did and it cost me $55 pesos (not a lot) and I don’t know whether it showed up. I was so anxious about getting to the airport on time. I wanted to trust the taxi service. Maybe if I had waited 10 more minutes, the shared taxi would have shown up but who knows? If you are anywhere near a street you will see tons of taxis just like in NYC. Just hail one. That is what I did. If you don’t see taxis near your hotel during your stay and you have a ton of luggage that is a different story. I did see tourists with one piece of luggage going near the Zócalo to get a taxi. I felt bad for them because the sidewalks aren’t made for luggage. Btw, I paid $150 pesos to get to the airport.

Where to stay:

Go by trip advisor or the guidebooks. I stayed at Hostel Don Nino. Great place. I had my own private room with a bathroom and a TV and get this: my own little garden! I didn’t get to enjoy the garden much though. Had I stayed there longer, I would have totally taken advantage of it. I was so tired from walking all day that I just crashed when I got back. I paid $1350 pesos for 3 nights. I know there are cheaper hostels. But I loved the location. It was right across from the most beautiful park. Having said that I think I will try something closer to town next time. Less walking involved (I have feet issues).

park across the street. awesome

The Zócalo (main square).

I don’t know if it is legal to say this but I don’t get the big deal. Yes you must go there at least once just to experience it but it was nothing like the books made it out to be. Having said that, I spent a lot of time there on my last day there (because the taxi stand opened 2 hours late) and it was sort of like the movies. It was the first time I kind of got it. Before I was like “This is the Zócalo? What’s the big deal??” But on my last day there, there was a great band playing and people everywhere. It was dare I say, romantic? I even went into the church and stayed for a prayer I didn’t understand. But I still think it is highly overrated. I enjoyed the parks much more. But it is worth a visit since you are there.

I ran into TWO protests in one day while there. At first I was following one and then I remembered that my guidebook said to stay away from the protests! lol. I got stuck in one. I thought I would never get out. I just kept following someone who appeared to be on his way to work or school. That was one of the times I was a little scared. The other time I was scared was when it was dark – maybe 8PM- and I was lost and very far from my hotel. I ended up hailing a taxi.

the smaller protest

Food

My recommendation is just go anywhere to eat. haha. I didn’t go anywhere the books recommended. That involved too much work of actually looking for certain places. Mostly I went to places where there were menus outside but sometimes I would just stop in anywhere. I would NEVER do that in the United States (too scared) but Oaxaca is magical. 🙂 As far as spicy food goes, they usually let you put that on yourself so it isn’t a big deal. Of course I stayed away from anything that I thought might be spicy so I’m no help there. They tend to cook the meat tough so if you don’t like that, you might want to mention it. I think a few of the waiters might have been offended because I didn’t eat everything. I’m not sure with the culture/language differences and all. I tried to eat as much as possible to not offend. I left everyone $5 pesos for a tip. At first I was leaving $10 pesos but I went through my book and that is waaaaay generous. $5 is enough. I’m obsessed with taking pictures of food:

too much cheese for me. wow.

Santo Domingo Church

Of course, go there. No flash is allowed in the church so my pics didn’t come out well.

most beautiful place in Oaxaca

Going alone and without being fluent in Spanish

I have to mention this because so many people made a big deal about both. OMG. Grow a set of ———. ROFL. I hate when people say, “If I could do it……” But seriously I’m a person with social anxiety and I went. C’mon. It isn’t that bad. I would not as a single lady hang around at night outside of tourist spots (actually I did do that but that’s not the point). I’m not fluent in spanish but I knew enough for a few days. lol. I made sure I knew certain words like “gate” (puerta) for the airport. Make a note of all the important phrases so you can get to them. Put them on an iPhone or a tablet. Organize it in some way like words for the airport, words for the hotel, words for shopping etc.  Try to learn all the numbers. I kept getting 50 and 150 mixed up. Embarrassing.

Most people in Oaxaca do not speak english. Don’t expect that at all. Some people off the tourist path will get annoyed with you for not understanding spanish. (But most won’t so don’t let this scare you. Overall, the people there are VERY accommodating and just nice).  I faked it at one off the path “restaurant”. She kept speaking in spanish knowing full well I didn’t understand her. I didn’t let it bother me. I just ordered, ate the food and kept moving. I understood the menu and how much to pay. That is all that mattered. That place had the best soup. Yum.

Recommend books/websites from the Oaxaca experts:

  • Oaxaca Oaxaca (website)
  • Oaxaca Notes (website)
  • Viva Oaxaca (book – used it a lot while there) Apparently I am able to loan this kindle book to anyone. I can only loan it out once for 14 days. Leave a comment if you want it.
  • Moon Oaxaca (book). I copied the maps and it was so helpful. I was lost so many times. lol. I really recommend buying a map from Amate books once you get there. I should have done that.

Oaxaca is awesome! 🙂 🙂 It was the little things like seeing parents drop there kids off at school and seeing so many locals going to a crafting class. I love that place. As far as me moving there, it is still a dream but not something I know for 100% sure I want to pursue. What if a city in Argentina is better? I just don’t know. The next time I go, it will probably be to take a week long Spanish immersion class.  I would love that. Then it wouldn’t be all about shopping! I have to do that. I just don’t know when. Maybe 2014? Hopefully.

I could go on and on. But this entry is 1600+ words already so THE END.