“I was in Oaxaca for three months doing study abroad through UC Davis and I began that trip at the Hostal Paulina. I arrived a week before my program started in order to get myself acquainted with the city I would call home for the next three months. At Hostal Paulina, I immediately found a link to the inner workings of the city. The staff were incredibly kind and helpful, going out of their way to make conversation with those who spoke a lick of Spanish. For example, the receptionists made sure to tell my father what a fair rate to the airport was. The morning breakfast’s were huge – eggs, bread, cereal, yogurt and fruit. As an American I expect a complimentary continental breakfast to be quite small and needless to say, I was mistaken. There is also complimentary internet at Hostal Paulina, a modern convenience which cannot be overlooked. Unlike internet cafes, the Hostal allows you to use the internet at any hour. Hostal Paulina attracts a great variety of tourists – in my all womens dorm room there was one other American, an older lady from Germany and another young adult from Spain. This multicultural environment is awesome.
Hostal Paulina is located 3 blocks from the Zocalo, the center of the city of Oaxaca. I was there the week of Mexican Independence – the week of September 14th. The entire city came to life, and I was located 3 blocks from the epicenter. The night of September 13th, there was a huge concert in the Zocalo with both traditional mariachi bands and a more modern Hispanic group. My father and I weaseled our way up to the front to see the popular band perform, and then had to squeeze like sardines to get out at 1 am when we got tired and the rest of the city was just waking up. The city itself offers a variety of options for tourists – those with culinary ambitions can take cooking classes, history buffs can go to the museum at Santo Domingo – one of the most interesting museums I have been to in Latin America – if you like hiking, you can wander up the escaleras on Crespo and then venture onto the hill behind for a full view of the city.
During my time in Oaxaca, I actually got to know two of the receptionists at the Hostal Paulina – Karen and Fabiola Giron. Through their voices and their eyes, I got to know Oaxaca as an insider looking out as well as an outsider looking in. If it was not for Hostal Paulina, I would not have those friendships which I still treasure today.