1. I like the taste of grasshoppers.
They're a Oaxacan speciality called chipulines and they're roasted in chili and garlic and you put 'em on top of guacamole and they're DELICIOUS.
2. If we ever get another dog, it's gonna be from Mexico.
Because every single dog we came across, from the beaches of Oaxaca to the middle of Mexico City, were sooooooooo chill. And amazing off leash. And never fought with each other. It was adorable (and it made me miss Waldo so bad I quite literally shed a tear when we reunited).
3. We might be too old for hostels.
Or maybe it's the fact that since we last stayed in a hostel we've opened our own, verrrrrrry quiet hotel and so we've gotten soft. Either way, I don't feel the need to ever share bathroom with a pack of twenty year old Australians again. Or to attend any kind of communal "movie night" in a lobby.
I'm making a bit of a joke about it here, but this was actually a very serious moment for me and Steven. Here we were, having traveled all over the world together, having stayed in a huge variety of bizarre and downright questionable places, having written a goddamn book about this kind of stuff, wondering if we were suddenly too old for this shit. Or, gasp, not adventurous enough anymore..?! There was some serious soul searching done on the beach on both our parts and we ultimately concluded... that the answer is of course a combination of many things but yes we are little too old for this shit, and yes we are spoiled by our own Inn, and no that does not mean that we don't have a sense of adventure.
4. Steven will find a way to fish anywhere we go now.
Also-- traveling right before high season begins is a great way to get what feels like exclusive access to stuff that's usually super crowded. Like sunrise boat rides where you swim with dolphins. (And fish too of course.)
5. Sometimes flying within the country is totally worth it even if it's on a 13 seater prop plane and the flight itself is SUPER SCARY.
But also kind of exciting. I mean, we could literally tap the pilot on the shoulder to ask him a question. Like: "If you have an allergic reaction to whatever you just had for lunch and black out, how do I land this thing?" All in all it was totally worth paying the fifty more dollars each to take a thirty minute flight vs. the ten hour puke-inducing bus ride through the mountains. (Also filed under, "Suddenly Too Old For This Shit".)
6. We heart bartenders around the world.
Ok, so maybe that's in no way a new realization, but it was reaffirmed this trip for sure.
That's Gregory on the left and Asis in the middle. We met Asis at a mescal bar in Oaxaca City and he offered to take us to his family's 125 year old distillery outside of town that weekend. BECAUSE WE STILL HAVE A SENSE OF ADVENTURE WE SAID YES. (Ahem.) And oh my gosh was it fun! We actually wound up going all over the countryside, to three different distilleries and this little waterfall/cave, all the while sipping on mescal after mescal after mescal, asking questions and making terrible jokes in terrible Spanish.
And you know what? Despite all the mescal consumed, I'm probably going to remember that day for a long, long time. There's simply nothing like cruising around with a local for a day, no matter what you get up to.
6. WiFi (nearly) everywhere makes travel better and worse.
Better because a) I could easily stay in touch with my Assistant Innkeeper about anything business related b) there was a world of recommendations about what to do and where to eat/stay at our fingertips at any given moment.
Worse because a) I could easily stay in touch with my Assistant Innkeeper about anything business related b) there was a world of recommendations about what to do and where to eat/stay at our fingertips at any given moment.
Yes, those are the same reasons. Although if I'm gonna be totally fair the "Better" list should also include c) we could easily book flights and rooms on our own without having to mess around with getting local phone credit and/or getting our point across in another language.
But point b especially was hard. Part of traveling is simply wandering and being present somewhere new. And when you have the Internet to tell you about the bajllions of really cool things you could potentially be missing out on doing at this new place, it gets overwhelming. And suddenly just strolling from plaza to plaza doesn't seem like enough. Even though IT IS TOTALLY ENOUGH.
It's not even been three years since our last big trip, but this was a huuuuuuuge change. And I'm clearly feeling torn about it.
7. It's so much fun to read a book by a local author.
Local voices, local perspective, stories that take place on the streets you're walking. It's even more fun when it's part of a super cool art/literary project! Our pal John at Community Bookstore recommended we pick up "The Story of My Teeth" by Valeri Luiselli and it was so. freaking. good! She was commissioned by the arts foundation associated with the Jumex Juice factory to write a serialized novel that would be read aloud to the factory workers in the tradition of cigar factory readers in Cuba back in the day who would read stuff like Dickens aloud to everyone as they rolled the cigars. All while trying to create a bridge of sorts between the Jumex Juice factory and their museums. I don't want to say anything about the story itself because it was such a strange pleasure of a tale to dive into blind. But basically, hurry up and go read it. And make sure you ask John for a rec next time you're going on a trip.
8. Private infinity pools make for great Author Photos.
This is Hotel Escondido. Aka, one of the best hotels I've ever stayed at in the entire world. More to come on our many different accommodations in my next post!