La Semana Santa is the week before Easter, during which almost every student in Mexico and most workers have time off. Being the most Catholic country in the world means that Holy Week is not taken lightly and the holiday is observed by everyone. Since we all have this whole week free from classes and work each of us made travel plans so that we could explore a new part of Mexico. Some had family visiting and went to more popular vacation areas like Cancun, and others of us planned trips in small groups to parts of the country that were too far away to visit over a weekend. My friend Emily had a friend visiting from the states, and the three of us went to the beaches of Oaxaca for the majority of our break.
We left last Thursday night around 10pm and rode a bus for the next 15 hours until we arrived in Mazunte, a tiny beach town on the western coast of the state of Oaxaca. Emily made most of the plans and reservations, and had told me that it was a remote beach and a beautiful and relaxing place to visit but even that did not prepare me for what I saw in front of me. It was everything you would imagine for a tropical paradise. For around $20 a night, we stayed in a bungalow overlooking the most gorgeous tropical beach. The actual town of Mazunte is so small you could probably walk through it in less than 10 minutes. After some exploration we discovered that it was mostly populated by American, European and a few Mexican “hippies” that simply wanted to live on the beach and enjoy the beautiful nature around them. All of the people were incredibly friendly, every restaurant had vegetarian food, and the beach was so wonderful it was almost impossible for us to leave. We spent almost all day every day on the beach, laying in the sun and swimming in the ocean. The waves and current were very powerful, but once you got used to them the swimming was a lot of fun. We spent so much time in the sun that even I got tan! There is simply nothing better than getting out of bed, putting on a bathing suit and walking to the beach while eating a fresh mango for breakfast. Who needs to shower when you’re going to spend the whole day swimming in the ocean anyway? I can honestly say that I have never been in an atmosphere that I enjoyed more and cannot wait to return in the future. Watching the local mothers read to their little babies on the beach and then walk them to their bungalow homes for naps in the afternoon, made me consider if there could possibly be a better place to raise your children. There are clearly advantages to American society and our advancements scientifically and technologically, but there is also something to be said for the simplicity of a more ancient way of life. Don’t worry, I won’t squirrel away my babies on a remote beach in Mexico where none of you will ever get to see them. But how wonderful would it be to have that opportunity and raise children with an appreciation for nature and simplicity instead of modern obsessions like cell phones…
After days of relaxation however, we had to head back to civilization so we took another 15 hour bus ride to Mexico City where Emily’s friend had to catch a plane back to the states. We had very little time in Mexico City but we did manage to walk through “La Casa Azul” which is the house that Frida Kahlo lived in with Diego Rivera. Seeing her original pieces as well as the studio where she worked and rooms where she lived was very interesting. There were many more museums that we wanted to see, but simply didn’t have the time to during this trip. I have one more three day weekend in May before I leave however, and I think that will be dedicated to exploring the huge capital city of Mexico and learning about all of the history that is there.
I can say that I am happy to be back at home with my host family though. Adventures are always fun, and I had a wonderful time, but I missed my host mom and my comfy bed with my familiar room. How interesting that this house and family that I did not even know existed 4 months ago is now my comfortable and familiar place to return to.