Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Journey to Oaxaca


Family Oaxaca

Santo Domingo, Calle Alcalá, Oaxaca

The journey begins. Playing spoons in Dallas airport.

The journey begins. Playing spoons in airport.

The last two weeks of July, I’m teaching a LISTO TESOL course in Oaxaca, México. We turned this into a family adventure and Noé, Luke, and Wynn are here, as well.  One never knows what to expect when traveling internationally.

Yesterday in class, we did a Listening Lesson on what happened on our trip:
1) Friday: Got up at 3:00am to leave Albuquerque at 5:00am.
2) 7-hour layover in Dallas.
3) Luke and I take flight to Mexico City, where we will meet Noé and Wynn 1-hour after arrive.
4) Luke and I wait 3 hours at the customs gate in Mexico City.
5) Noe and Wynn do not arrive. Luke is making “Taken” jokes. I do not find these funny.
6) I receive a text from Wynn that their flight was full, they were bumped, and are now flying to Los Angeles.
7) Wynn and Noe fly to Los Angeles and wave to our house, which they left 24 hours ago, as they fly over.
8) Luke and I guiltily go to our hotel to eat and sleep. Okay, only I felt bad. Luke ate and watched soccer.
9) Get up at 5:00 am to be there for Wynn and Noé when they arrive at 5:30.
10) Wait for 3 hours and Noe and Wynn do not arrive.
11) This is because Noé’s luggage is lost.
12) Noe and Wynn emerge and we head to AeroMar for our flight to Oaxaca.
13) Despite the printed documents of confirmation of our flight to Oaxaca, AeroMar tell us that these reservations do not exist.
14) We have no way from Mexico City to Oaxaca. I teach the next day at 9:00 am.
15) We decide to rent a car and drive the 6 hours.
16) Despite telling the bank that we would be in Mexico, my debit card does not go through at the car rental, because of “suspected fraud.”
17) We are stuck in Mexico City.
18) We remember that Noé spoke to a different person for his card at the bank. This person actually did their job and we can use his card.
19) Man at rental place reviews car and shows us the spare. The four of us laugh, because of course at this point, we will get a flat.
20) I drive, since Noe has not slept in more than 24 hours at this point.
21) We make it out of Mexico City, because some kind couple sees us looking for signs and pulls over to tell us how how to drive to Oaxaca. Since the rental place had no map and we have no clue. Again – Luke making more “Taken” jokes, that this is a ruse. Again, I do not find these funny.
22) We drive through AMAZING, raw landscape. 
23) Until we come to the bridge that is closed down due to the striking teachers.
24) We double-back and go around – and drive past burned out buses and cars and signs with photos of the teachers killed. We drive past groups of men with bandanas tied over their faces who check every car that goes by. Teachers have not been paid in months. We use as learning opportunity to discuss strikes and oppression. And we just hope the masked men with the rifles and pick axes let us through…
25) Drive another 3 hours. Kids say Oaxaca does not exist. Kids now punchy with exhaustion and start wrestling in the back seat. I sing, “To Dream the Impossible Dream” of arrival. Kids do not see humor in this.
26) Sunday 7:00 pm. Arrive to Oaxaca. Have no street address for our apartment. Our cab driver starts calling friends to ask where this might be.
17) Sunday 8:00 pm = 65 hours after leaving ABQ, we arrive to our hotel.
18) Noe and I ask where we can buy food for starving kids – and wine for us. 🙂
19) Let the adventure begin!

Made it to our apartment.

Made it to our apartment.

Class is off to a marvelous start! Some images of Oaxaca.

The art store on the corner of our apartment.

The Frida Kahlo Galeria beside our apartment.

Colors and textures of Oaxaca.

Colors and textures of Oaxaca.

Chapulínes con chile y limón. Grasshoppers with chile and lime. Noé says to take the legs off first, since they get stuck in your teeth.

Chapulines con chile y limón. Grasshoppers with chile and lime.

Chapulines con chile y limón. Grasshoppers with chile and lime.

Dresses of Oaxaca

Dresses of Oaxaca

20) I still have to figure out how we’re getting back to Mexico City for our return flights…

Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

40 thoughts on “Journey to Oaxaca

  1. Hola Dawn,

    Your dewdrops are always fun. But this one was almost a novel.

    I hope this is the TESOL program that is advertised at the Community College. My big dream is to do my TESOL classes there. Oh, Oh. I wasn’t expecting a epic trek…………………..but that would be ok too, I guess. Hope you make it back home with some easy times and fun as well as the adventurous, exhausting part of the journey.

    Thank you for your writings. They are always enlightening.




    • Dear Connie,

      Yes, this is our TESOL program through SFCC. How wonderful that you would like to join us one day! We were the only ones with an epic trek—your chances are excellent that your trip here will be smooth! Our time here has been such a blessing. I’ve learned so much and try to absorb as much as possible each day. Would love to share this place with you one day.

      Big hugs,

  2. blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } A true horror adventure. Do hope return trip was easier and enjoyable. 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

  3. Truly one of the worst travel stories ever! Seriously – my worst nightmare: have to get somewhere; cannot get there. Seems like you kept a sense of humor throughout, however. And what lovely pix. I want to go to the Frida Kahlo Gallery – you know what a fan I am!! Hope your return goes smoothly, but I’m having my doubts. I’m sure you will keep us posted. XOXO

    • Liz—can’t wait for our next Literary Ladies Luncheon to see and hug you! We’ll see what happens on the return trip. 🙂 Ever the adventure. Love, love to you from Oaxaca.

  4. Oh my goodness what an adventure !!! This one will be relived many times over at family gatherings. I do wish you all a safe and less exhausting trip home. Love you.

    • Hey dear Cathy—an adventure that grows with time and story. I told the kids, while every moment may not be perfect, at least it is shared together. Love you, Dawn

  5. Hello Dawn,
    Looks like you have had an amazing time in Mexico! Let’s get together when you are back in Santa Fe! Miss you.

    • Christiane, yes on our getting together! Oh, your photos of the River Walk in San Antonio… How I love that place! Thank you so much for sharing the beauty. They were savored here in Oaxaca. Big hugs and love, Dawn

  6. I laughed a lot. When something goes wrong it seems like a lot does. One day you too will laugh. I loved the tip about eating grasshoppers!! Who knew?

    • Tracie, so glad to share in our laughs and adventure with you! We laughed a bunch even on the day – perhaps it was just mania… 🙂 Yes, excellent tip about eating chapulines! One to remember. Sending big hugs and gratitude to you, Dawn

  7. I have often thought of visiting Oaxaca, your enticing view of this piece of the world has convinced me, I must go. Thank you for sharing your family adventure, Dawn.

    • Jim, oh, you must come! Yes, yes, and yes. Simply incredible. A feast for all senses and such exquisite beauty and the layers upon layers of culture, dynamics, and beauty. Dawn

  8. Loved the tale of travel with family and the challenges you conquered.

    • Dear Kay – oh, what a tale! Very grateful to share the journey with you. Margaret and I spoke by phone not too long ago about her new teaching position. Please know how much you are in my thoughts. Sending love, Dawn

  9. When I started reading your post, and the first sentence said that you were going to Oaxaca, I instantly thought, “I hope she doesn’t run into any teacher’s demonstrations.” And then I read that you did!!! I guess it was inevitable. But I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Oaxaca. It’s a beautiful city!

  10. Will expect you to show up at the WWW conference with one of those beautiful dresses of Oaxaca. I think you earned one.

    • Nancy Oswald! Oh, are those dresses not absolute works of art and treasures!! I savor and covet each time I see one. Would LOVE to wear one to our WWW conference. Big hugs! Dawn

  11. oh my. that’s quite a tale! everything from lost luggage to bandits; surely it’ll be worth a book!

    there’s on comment on the blog itself from cranky glass. That’s me. I can’t remember why i did that, but it’s only for wordpress. erg. Marie


  12. So glad you all speak the language! Gah, what a trip. Let’s hope the return trip is at least as interesting? Or not.

    • Marie/Crankyglass (love that! :-)) – Yes, I will admit that speaking the language made a world of difference here. And our time here in Oaxaca has been a feast for the senses! We, too, hope for a less interesting return trip. We shall see! 🙂 xoxo Dawn

  13. Just beautiful and exciting. Enjoy!! Nancy Tabet

    On Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 5:51 AM, Dawn Wink: Dewdrops wrote:

    > Dawn Wink posted: ” The last two weeks of July, I’m teaching a LISTO TESOL > course in Oaxaca, México. We turned this into a family adventure and Noé, > Luke, and Wynn are here, as well. One never knows what to expect when > traveling internationally. Yesterday in cla” >

  14. Loved your post! I wish a could visit there too. It’s a shame I know more places in the States than in my own country. Hope people don’t see Mexico as a place full of violence. (the teachers let you through without problem, right?) We have issues going on like in many parts of the world (including the U.S.A), but Mexicans are warm and caring. (Like the person who showed you your way out of Mexico City).
    Some people think of all Americans as racist. But I correct them. I tell them about how they love to help people in need, as they did with me and my family during my year as an exchange teacher.

    • Ana Luisa – Thanks so very much for writing! We have been blown away by the caring, warmth, life, and love that has been our experience here in Mexico. Yes, the couple who literally pulled over on the side of the highway to explain how to drive to Oaxaca reflects the essence of our experience. Thank you for highlighting that not all Americans are racists. Like every country, our people reflect a mosaic of thoughts and beliefs. I so deeply appreciate your taking the time to connect on all here. Warmest wishes, Dawn

  15. Whew!! What an adventure! Glad you all finally united in one piece. Stay safe…have fun…educate…and get back to NM in one piece too!!

  16. An amazing story written in a delightful report style. Hope that the conference went well. And that the return trip was smoother.

    • Dear Kay, thanks so very much for this. My class is amazing, which is such a gift to experience. We are all in this together! I, too, hope for a smoother return trip. We shall see what unfolds! Big hugs, Dawn

  17. I am not jealous of the “flying” experience, but, boy howdy, does the rest of the description resonate. I remember that trip from Mexico City to Oaxaca nearly 30 years ago. There were “teacher issues” then as well. Nonetheless, I am totally jealous of the sights of the city. The piles of chiles in baskets–that photo brought back an entire physical memory: smells of the mercado, the array of colors, the buckets of “whey” (I don’t recall the drink’s name) that everyone drank from with a common dipper….hmm…that was not something I participated in doing. I remember the cathedral–I actually went on a “date” with a fellow to a wedding in the cathedral. [No, not ours 🙂 ]
    What a wonderful place to spend a family vacation as well as “work.”

    • Margaret – I loved reading of your own experience in Oaxaca! Thanks so much for sharing all of these images and memories. I am also glad to know of the teacher issues here even 30 years ago. I want to learn more about the history behind all and why this has such a history specifically in Oaxaca. Loved the “date” to a wedding in the cathedral. Too beautiful. Am thinking of you while here! Dawn

  18. What a great story, perfect in list form. And the restaurant picture is great. Luke seems to be having a blast, Noe looks asleep in his chair and Wynn seems completely over the whole thing. In other words…the perfect family vacation! Thanks for sharing, dear. And I’m whispering prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe for your return trip…

    • Dear Kelly, love your description of all of us at journeys end. Made me chuckle aloud. Thanks for the prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe! She always listens. xo Dawn

  19. Oh, my! I love the “taken” jokes and you singing “To Dream the Impossible Dream.” What a crazy adventure! First enjoy your time there and enjoy being loved by your students. Then rent a car and drive back to Mexico City, now that you know the way and the men with masks and automatic weapons know to let you through… xoxo

    • Susan! We did reach new highs of exhaustion and punchiness by our journeys end… 🙂 So glad to make it and enjoy the beauty of Oaxaca! Hoping to get our original reservations found and reimbursed to fly back to Mexico City… We shall see what actually unfolds. Ever the adventure! xoxox

  20. Glad you all arrived safely and are having a good time! Love your story and photos. Spent two weeks in Oaxaca studying Spanish and living with a local family, years ago. Wonderful experience!

    • KatValdezWriter—How wonderful that you lived in Oaxaca with a local family and studied Spanish! I can now visualize you walking these street. We’ve now safely landed and are absorbing all that is Oaxaca – what a gift. Thanks so much and big hugs to you from Oaxaca!

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