April 2023 Nomad Life Addendum – A Walk to Walmart

This is our trip to Walmart. We walk about 4 1/2 miles along the dotted line, catch a bus back (solid line), and walk from the highway back to the campground.

April 2022.

We have been living in El Rancho RV Park in El Tule, Oaxaca, México for over 4 months (Since January 24). All but one of those weeks we have been without our own transportation. Due to our, not ideal, circumstances, we have found out how resourceful we can be. We have learned to take the bus or a colectivo almost anywhere. But in addition to motorized transportation, we have also been utilizing our feet.

For a while after our van broke we just sat around every morning looking at the internet. Then, at some point, I realized that this wasn’t very healthy. So we started morning walks, to nearby towns, up the mountain across the highway, to visit a dam and an abandoned hacienda. Our walks lasted anywhere from an hour and a half or more. And then one day when we needed to make a shopping trip, I looked at the map and realized that Walmart was only about 4 1/2 miles away. I thought it would be a great way to save time to combine our shopping trips with our daily morning walk.

We plotted a route and headed out.

I had intended to talk about this in my last Nomad and Expense Report, but then I decided I had too many pictures of the route that I liked. Not that these pictures are all fun and pretty. But they represent a little bit of the things about daily life here in Mexico that we probably wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise.

So here is my photo essay of our walk to Walmart.

We start out by making a left out of the campground onto Calle Camino Naciónal. The bit of Camino Naciónal that runs in front of the RV park is in a sort of municipality no-mans-land and no one wants to be responsible for paving it.

(click on the pic below to enlarge the photos and read the whole story in a slide show)

There are lots of dogs along this road. Some are strays. And some have homes. These guys obviously have homes because one ran out from behind a fence to greet me.
You usually see this kind of memorial along highways where someone died. I don’t know if this individual actually died at this spot. In the background, you can see some of the mountains that surround this area. And crops. Lots of crops are grown around El Tule.
Mini Super El Puesto. Coca-Cola is big in México. This store is not far from the campground. There are lots of little stores like this in El Tule but Walmart is the closest big grocery store. Parked in front of Mini Super is the ubiquitous Sabritas (potato chips) truck. A que no puedes comer sólo uno (I bet you can’t eat just one).
During this spring we have seen lots of big colorful trees in bloom. I thought this one was especially pretty.
And there are lots of colorful birds in the area like these Monk Parakeets.
After about a mile we turn off of Camino Naciónal onto Calle Adolfo López Mateos. Here is a Tuk Tuk (moto-taxi). These little three-wheeled taxis fly around the streets of small towns transporting people short distances.
A block after we turn onto Adolfo López Mateos we hit Carratera Internaciónal 190. If we were driving we’d take 190 straight to Walmart. But because we are walking we want to avoid the busy highway and we cross to the other side where we will find a walking/biking path. Some roads have pedestrian lights, but not this one so it takes a bit of timing to get across.
After we cross the intersection at 190 the road changes its name to Lib. 5 Señores – Tlalixtac. This road takes us to this tricky part of the walk. A pedestrian walkway goes through the middle of the street at this intersection. It is denoted by Botts’ dots (round raised pavement markers). You need to get in the middle of the street while paying attention to vehicles coming at you from many directions.
Here we are walking between the Botts’ dots*. Cars can cross over the dots at any point. *Yes, that’s what these bumps are called, I looked it up.
Under the bridge as we traverse the Botts’ dots lane.
Finally, the Botts’ dots bring us to the walking/biking path running down the middle of Lib. 5 Señores – Tlalixtac. The road will eventually change names to Avenida Ferrocarril. Ferrocarril means railroad in Spanish. We have seen evidence of an old rail-line along the path. Hip cities in the US are not the only ones to have Rails to Trails.
There are murals on either side of the road.
The path can be quite nice and shady.
A garden center. People love their gardens in México. You see lots of these. Don’t you love those mountains in the background?
Little Caesars, Dominos, McDonald’s, Carls Jr., KFC. There are lots of American fast food options in Mexico.
Bus stop. The bus driver is cleaning his own windshield.
Truckloads of piñas! If you know Spanish you know that piñas are pineapples. But this is a different kind of pineapple. These are agave hearts on their way to being turned into mezcal. Yes!
Back in St. Louis where I grew up, we called these No-tell Motels. These motels with garages for cars (so that they can’t be seen) are somewhat common in México.
Los Bomberos (firemen)! Shiny red firetrucks.
We leave the walking/bike path and turn right here onto Avenida Calicanto. On Sundays, this street is blocked off with a Mercado. We have just recently realized that this is the Mercado we were trying to avoid when we had our fender-bender.
I love Calicanto. These donuts are made fresh every morning.
Barbershop with a sign that looks very much like Michael Jackson.
Lots of little tiendas on this street.
I always feel like we should get our vegetables here instead of Walmart but it is easier to get everything in one place.
The ubiquitous OXXO (convenience store). You also see lots of people with these modified bicycles for carrying loads.
Making fresh tortillas! There is also a gym, a boxing studio, and lots of little restaurants and shops on Calicanto.
We turn right off of Calicanto and just about 300 feet later we arrive at Walmart. Walmart is in a shopping center called Macro Plaza.
Walmart is on the second level of the shopping center at the rear. Walmarts are pretty similar to Walmarts in the US – except we have discovered at this one they don’t have a sewing/craft section.
Escalator inside Macro Plaza. There are lots of big chain stores in Macro Plaza like Office Depot, GNC, and Toks, a Mexican restaurant chain found all over the country. There is a movie theater and a good natural foods store where we get some of Greg’s supplements.
Kiddie rides on the first floor. The mall also has a food court on the second floor that includes a McDonald’s.
Steps down to the street from Macro Plaza.
This is where we wait for a ride back to El Tule Carratera Internaciónal 190. Since it’s Mexico, there is never a snack too far away. You will find food and merch stands anywhere people gather or have to wait.
If we get tired of waiting for a bus we might take a colectivo (one of the red and white taxis). But buses are easier to get in and out of and they are cheaper.
Here comes the bus! Many of the El Tule buses are painted red like this – but not always. Buses have signs posted on their front windows so you know where they are going.
On the bus. Many people still mask here in Oaxaca. We always mask when going into Walmart or other stores and on the bus sometimes too.
View out the window on the bus. You can’t tell in the photo but this Hulk-looking creature on the roof has light-up eyes.
Lots of restaurants along 190.
El Monumento. This monument is for Mexico’s Benito Juárez. He was México’s first indigenous president, elected in 1857. He was born in a small town in Oaxaca.
Selling baskets along the sidewalk.
We see lots of VW Beatles around Oaxaca. This one is in good shape! I saw one the other day that had other famous Beatles painted on the side of it – The musical ones walking Abbey Road.
The beer here is just as cheap as Walmart!
Here is where we get off the bus. The stop is called Sabritas because the other side of the road is where the hundreds of yellow Sabritas trucks leave from every morning.
From our stop, we cross Carratera Internaciónal 190 to this unnamed road that takes us back to the campground.
Arriving back at El Rancho RV Park with our groceries! BTW – I’m carrying a bag too but Greg likes to carry all the heavy stuff.
And back home to Ballena Blanca – not functional yet but still livable.

I hope you have found our walk interesting and have gotten a taste of our daily life for the last 4 months. Fingers crossed good news is coming and we won’t be doing this walk again. I will keep you posted!

8 thoughts on “April 2023 Nomad Life Addendum – A Walk to Walmart

  1. Looks like the “slideshow” doesn’t work on the iPhone. I thought the idea was a good one. There were no captions on the email either. What’s up, WordPress?? Don’t treat Duwann that way!

    1. Yes, don’t treat me that way. Ugh! Thanks for letting me know. The slide show doesn’t work if you click on the left or right side of the pic?

      Thanks for liking the idea, Tony. Hopefully it will work for everyone else.

  2. Lovely walk! Especially the bike/walking trail. You don’t find that in many places. I’m sure that if we would do this walk with Maya, many of those dogs would come charging and barking… It’s such a different scene walking with a dog in these countries.

    Figuring out how to get around is good practice for your upcoming trip! 🙂 I’m so glad the van has been repaired now and you don’t have to do this walk again. Good for you, walking this much every day, though. It kept you both in shape.

    The tuktuks and small tiendas are similar than in Colombia and Ecuador. We love buying our vegetables there, but have learned to ask for the price as nothing has price tags.

    1. Eke! I’m a little late on this reply.

      Yes, I don’t think things have price tags in these small shops in Mexico, either. But we didn’t shop at many of them. But I think this will change when we are Ecuador and our eating habits are going to have to change with our traveling style.

      Yes, the dogs can be a bit territorial. They especially don’t like bicycles. We saw lots of people carrying sticks on our daily walks up the mountain in El Tule. I often wondered if people carried them because of dogs. But I I never saw a dog be aggressive with pedestrians.

  3. Always a treat. Glad Ballena Blanca is functional again. For a while I bet it felt like you were back on the Catalina.

    1. Thanks! Yes, we tend to think land travel is easier, but on a boat, we at least had sails, and we would have still been mobile.

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