Over the last couple of weeks, we've had the "Hawaii Effect" happen in Mexico. Just as Hawaii far exceeded our expectations, Mexico has done the same. I'm not sure that would be the case if we went to Cabo, but spending time in Mexico City and Oaxaca is turning out to be among our favorite experiences. Why? A couple of things come to mind... First off, we couldn't make up our minds about where the hell to stay in either place, so we made the decision to stay in two different places in both Mexico City and Oaxaca. We were actually stunned at just how much each home-base hotel shaped our experience. When we arrived in Mexico City, we stayed at a deluxe hotel right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. We then moved to a small guest house located in a charming, centrally located residential area. Both served as the foundation for completely different experiences. A few times, we could have been fooled into believing we were in two different cities. The same held true in Oaxaca. The differences weren't as dramatic because it's a much smaller city and our hotels turned out to be next door to each other (which we didn't know until arriving).
We also wanted to incorporate a guest-house / B&B vibe in order to have a different sort of experience. The intimate feel that comes along with staying at smaller places was great (mostly). In Mexico City we had a house dog, and in Oaxaca we had a house cat. You've gotta love that. The breakfasts are also awesome, and they keep us from calling it good with a bagel and racing out the door. It's also nice to have the chance to chat up other interesting travelers. We've learned that we have to be careful, though, because we can tend to get to know too many people - keeping us from doing what we've set out to do by traveling. Sometimes a quick bagel for breakfast is probably a good idea.
I guess we were also really impressed because non-beachy Mexico is on most everyone's "hell no" list when - in fact - it's not really scary at all. Mexico City had some of the nicest neighborhoods that we have ever seen. Oaxaca's vibe ranks right up there with the best we've ever experienced - not to mention the friendly people and top-notch food.
So, another adventure has come to a close, and we've learned more about the world and ourselves. Mission accomplished.