After a bit over a year it looks like our days of hiding out from the pandemic are coming to the end. We had enjoyed our time in the house and it was very nice to be able to stretch out. The terrain around our house looked a lot like Arizona, hot, dry and dusty. It had a few interesting features including a well water so every couple of days I had to fill our water tank with water from the well. It also used a solar water heater which sadly blew up a couple times from over heating until we got a plumber out to fix it. Our neighbors were keeping an eye out on us since they knew the water heater was leaking before we realized it.
We even made friends with the neighborhood dogs. One dog that we thought was a stray showed up on our doorstep one day and even later brought her puppies to our house. We had an anxious night worrying about them until we discovered that she actually belonged to our neighbors. She regularly escaped from their house and visited us often and even brought her boyfriend since we fed her. When we first saw her, she was quite skinny but in a few weeks she had rounded out since we kept on feeding her.
Since moving to the house we have been going to explore the town. Pretty much everything is open now and most people wear masks around town. We went to some nice walking streets, a fancy rooftop restaurant and after over a year in Oaxaca we felt that we were finally seeing the city. We even joined a couple of expat Facebook groups and met up with other expat families so that Olivia had some kids to with which to play.
Holly hired a private tutor named Aidan who came to our house once a week for lessons and we even got a housekeeper who came once a week. Holly’s Spanish has improved rapidly and she really enjoys studying Spanish. Oaxaca itself has opened back up and although there are Covid precautions like temperature checks, disinfectants, social distancing and masks everywhere the restaurants, street vendors and stores are all open. As always, the weather has been excellent.
Texas will open up vaccination eligibility to all adults on March 29th. Therefore, we had planned to leave Oaxaca and return to the US next week. However we heard from a friend that there was a city in Texas that had opened eligibility to all adults so I we applied and were able to get an appointment for March 30th. We decided that we would go for it although it would be a huge rush to get back to the US. According to Google it was 1,140 miles and about a 21 hour drive from Oaxaca to Benham, TX. This, of course is a non-stop driving at full speed. In our RV we drive much slower than a normal car, need breaks and there will border crossing to deal with as well. We would need a couple days to pack and load Rover and could make it if we drove hard for 3 days, going 8 or 9 hours a day.
In Mexico and countries further south, vaccines will continue to be extremely limited for the foreseeable future. If we did not take the March 30th’ appointment, it would be possible that we would not be able to get appointments for quite a while since the entire State of Texas was opening up eligibility to all adults on the 29th and there would likely be a huge rush as the all newly eligible people sign up. We will get our vaccinations and then spend the summer touring the Eastern USA. One of our goals is to follow the weather so as it gets warmer we will go north before heading to the east coast then make our way south in the fall as the temperature drops. This means we need to get moving as soon as possible. We had signed a lease for our house through May but since the rent is only 6,000 pesos (about US$300) a month we will just pay off the rest of the rent and leave early. After we get the first shot we would need to wait a month for the second shot so if we waited until the end of May we would have to stay in Texas until the end of June by which time it will be very hot and humid. Then next winter we will see where we are, how we feel and how things are going. We might try to go to South America again, we might go somewhere else but I expect travel will still be unpredictable so we will just see what happens.