Q is for Quaint

I love the word, quaint. Say it out loud. It even sounds quaint.

When I travel, I am drawn to places, I consider, quaint.

In my mind, Vermont is quaint. Almost every little inch of it. Old-fashioned stores, charming bakeries, sweet B&Bs, country cottages, rushing rivers… everywhere you look, oozes quaintness. I just want to bottle it up and take it home.

After much analysis (a quick perusal of my photos) and a lot of quaint competition, I am going to declare Mexico, the capital of quaint. For those who disagree, feel free to share with your dog or cat. 🙂

You may be saying, “What does Mexico have that I don’t have?”

Mexicans know how to create a heart for their cities. Whether you call it a zocalo, a plaza, a town square, or a piazza, it is a point in the center of a town or a neighborhood that draws people to it and holds them there, captive but content.

Each zocalo is unique in Mexico.

One of my favourites is in Oaxaca. Each day as the sun dips low, people venture out to the zocalo. A park filled with benches for people to relax, to talk and simply to watch each other. Vendors sell toys for kids, men shine shoes, women sell handicrafts and always there is some fun food to eat. Families stroll, kids play and tourists, like me, take pictures and relish in the homey atmosphere of this common place where everybody and their dog loves to hang out.

What I find most refreshing is that the busiest time is in the evening. Having grown up in a city where the downtown park was empty during the day and off limits during the night due to “inappropriate activity”, it is reassuring to know there are still safe places in the world to hang out once the clock passes 6 PM.

So having concluded that Mexican towns and their zocalos win the quaint award, the strangest thing happened.

My husband was in Mexico as I was writing this post. He didn’t not know what I was writing about, yet at the same time, he sends me a picture of a cafe he thought was quaint. A word he rarely uses. This is his rendition of quaint.

The quaint cafe in Mexico  where my husband was while I was writing my quaint post in Canada.

The quaint cafe in Mexico where my husband was while I was writing my quaint post in Canada.

Although we seem to agree that Mexico is very quaint, I think we agree to disagree on his photo.

Yes, honey, the photo of the fire extinguisher in Mexico is very quaint.

You may know now why I or the girls take our travel photos.

Thanks for stopping by as The Family C travels from A to Z.

Where have you travelled that is quaint? 

From Oaxaca to Gun Point – Not the Destination We Were Aiming For

If one C (well-travelled) meets second C (travelled only in Canada/US) the first C has to find the perfect spot to take the other C so he will fall in love with travel and then, the first C can then fall in love with the second C. So this became a complicated plan and in addition to finding the perfect spot, aeroplan also had to cooperate.

So many hours later, Mexico appeared on the radar as a possibility.

However, the first C was NOT going to resort Mexico with the second C; this had to be the “real Mexican” experience in order to find out if the second C was really into this backpacking thing.

So off we go to Mexico City where we can take a direct bus from the airport to Puebla, a pretty colonial city. So far so good. The bus is excellent and far surpasses anything we have in Canada. The scenery is amazing and to boot, we find a perfect hotel room that looks over the amazing plaza and its church. From Puebla, we move onto Oaxaca (a personal favourite of mine having spent Christmas once there) and gloriously, it hasn’t changed too much. We find another perfect little hotel that comes with a roof top that second C can look out from each and every morning he has his coffee and breakfast. Bonus! I now know roof tops are the perfect lure for him. After a few days wandering Oaxaca and chicken busing it to the surrounding towns for their daily markets, all is looking really positive. He likes it; in fact I think he loves it!

We get on our bus to head back to Mexico City as we are now going to head north.

All is going smoothly until I see a road block. OOPS! I hadn’t really explained those to second C prior to the trip; kind of forgetting to mention those travel moments when things kind of go awry.

Before I know it, the armed soldiers with guns out step onto our bus and start speaking Spanish rapidly. It appears that random passengers have the privilege of being selected for the baggage check; road side. And oh boy… we are the lucky winners of said random baggage check. In fact, anyone who looked foreign was selected however that only meant us and a couple of others. I quickly tell Chris I will look after things; taking full control of the situation; so to speak.

We get off and we are ordered to find our bags under the bus. I am freaking that if second C looks nervous, this will give them more reason to stick their guns in our sides. With the guns pointing at us, we had to open our bags so they could search them. I must admit I was very proud of second C’s fairly calm hands as he opened his pack; a new pack that he was not even familiar with on the best of days. After they checked and found we had the usual crap inside; too many clothes, umbrellas, kleenex etc. we were told to get back on the bus.

Now this is where I get extra suspicious. I am totally sure that they intend to NOT place our bags on the bus so I want to hang out there until I visibly see them returned. Soldier dudes don’t seem as pleased with my plan so they gesture for me to get back on the bus. I look at second C who still has it all together and I think, yes, he is going to be a great backpacker and I settle back into the horrible Mexican movie being blasted on the bus.