TRAVEL | April 22


Oaxaca, Mexico Trip Report Part 5: Saved by Consomme

Kaye Rottingham

It was the night of the consomme- wait, forgive me, that seems a bit lacking in factuality. I say this because, from what I have observed, all the best street food vendors come out only after dark. So, if it's night, then there is consomme and when there is consomme, that is something that should be celebrated, which is every night. So, to correct myself, it was night and therefore time for consomme!

After arriving back from the mezcal tour, things were a little hazy. I took a quick nap and regret nothing about it. However, by the time I arose again, the sun had already dispersed over the hills that line the Oaxaca City horizon, to bring on the darkness of the night. Not a problem, I like the night and better yet I like the food options that open up at night in Oaxaca City.

In the evenings, from around the city, down from the hills and across the countryside, the locals arrive to sell the food they have spent the daytime hours preparing for those who are in my exact situation- or so I've been told. Needless to say, it is undeniable that the city is alive with energy well into the night and some good food is needed to keep that energy going.

Lucky for us, the place we were staying at was centrally located and just around the corner from there was a lady selling tacos and consomme soup from a bike cart, right off the street. We saw a line up of police officers ordering tacos, so it passed the food safety test in our eyes. She made sure to wear gloves while accepting our money and removed the money glove for serving the food too. We were in good hands with her.

We got our consomme, consumed our consomme, then went back to order some more consomme. All that salty, soupy, beefy goodness blended with the right amounts of Mexican spice- truly one of the best things in the world! Before we left, we made sure to try the tacos too. She laughed at us a bit as she served us more food, once again.

Ok, my head was spinning a bit still, I was feeling tired, with an early morning ahead and our belly's were now filled with delicious Oaxacan street food. It felt like we had remembered everything to do before crashing for the night as we headed back to our room, or so I thought...

I did not come to the realization of what we had forgotten to do until about 5:00am. This is when I awoke abruptly with feelings of thirst and dehydration. It was all so clear now, we had neglected to buy drinking water! This was important to do while we were out earlier because things like corner stores, or any stores for that matter, were still open then. Regardless, Jessica slept like a baby, but unfortunately for me, I was stuck staring at the ceiling counting down the minutes until something might, maybe be open for the morning...

I started wandering the streets at around 6:00am. I didn't expect much to be open, so I brought my phone with me to at least get some photos or videos of Oaxaca City in the early morning. It was an experience in itself to be up and about before the sun was fully in the sky and before people filled all the streets and sidewalks.

While wandering, I ended up passing many still closed stores and managed to walk the whole city centre before I finally arrived at a big box grocery store at about 7:00am. I was not a fan of the source of my salvation, but it was a store and it was open. Besides, I needed that water immediately!

All the employees did double takes at me as I casually strolled the aisles. Maybe it was because I was clearly not from around there or perhaps the store wasn't even in fact open yet. I don't know and I didn't care. As I kept my head down to avoid making eye contact for fear of getting kicked out, I continued my pursuit towards the precious life source of water. I lugged two 5L bottles to the cashier and downed a good portion of one of them right after paying, before even leaving the store.

I was now good as new again, I survived Oaxaca City! It was now time to head back to my room to pack my things and start my way through the mountains to the beach. I can only imagine how much worse I may have felt if I wouldn't have enjoyed all that consomme the previous night to, at least partially, nutriate and hydrate before heading to bed.

I swear she was standing over there, on that corner with the light post, only a few hours ago...