After failing to find a job teaching English in the capital, I set my sights on getting work in Oaxaca. The town seemed lively and had a buzz that suggested English could be in demand. Here’s another short story about the delights of living and travelling in Mexico.
No wonder Uvlad had fussed about the hostel. The toilets stank of sewage, the walls were covered in mould, and the roof leaked. When I woke my sleeping bag was drenched from the overnight downpour. I left Uvlad to pack up his things and nipped out to find somewhere more liveable.
“I’ve found a better hostel round the corner, same price and there’s a funny Argentinean geezer on reception,” I said to Uvlad.
“Do they offer a free shower with every bed too?”
“Yeah, very funny wise guy, come on let’s go before someone else nicks the beds.”
The hostel on Av Independencia was much cleaner, had a pool table, two hammocks, there were less beds per square metre, and no dripping roof.
Victor, from Buenos Aires, was running the place during the day. He was just under 6ft tall, with jet-black hair and eager wide eyes. He’d been travelling round Mexico for a couple of years and was hoping to save up some money to go to England. Being an Argentinean in Mexico was more difficult than he’d imagined.
“They treat us like dirt here. All I want to do is learn more English so I can leave this place and go to your country.”
“In England they’ll treat you like dirt too, especially if you like football,” I said, joking.
“I don’t care, you must be better than these Mexicans.”
When he discovered I was an English teacher (at least supposedly), we made a pact that he would help me find a job if we spoke English together. An immediate friendship was born.
|Chilled places to live while teaching English
Photo by veisto
I felt rejuvenated, eager, and ready to battle it out with the language schools. Oaxaca would be a perfect place to teach English and learn some Spanish, but I had to change tactics. Both Uvlad and Victor told me to take a different approach and lie.
“Tell them you stay long time, worry about the consequences after,” Victor said with his naughty grin. A little Latin porkie pie wouldn’t hurt anyone, maybe it was worth a try.
There were only a handful of schools compared to the capital but after seeing the amount of potential students, I was sure that I would have some luck. At the first language school, I was able to speak to the director immediately.
“Oh, that would be great,” said the American woman.
“Brilliant, I replied thinking I had finally had some luck.
“Yes, but we don’t need teachers now,” she added. “Times are hard for the people of Oaxaca and learning English is a luxury.” I thought I’d hit gold for a minute, but didn’t let it stop me and continued hunting. Unfortunately, the next school I found had thick wooden planks nailed across it, and the third had changed into a restaurant, maybe she had been right.
After three days, it was clear I wouldn’t need to lie to anyone; most of the schools took my CV but were struggling for business. I liked Oaxacathough and wanted to stay.
“Why don’t you put up some adverts for private lessons?” Uvlad suggested as we sat swinging in the hammocks.
“Yeah, but where can I give the lessons?”
“Why don’t you ask Victor? You can use the space up here.” It was a genius idea and Victor was up for helping me but it wasn’t his call.
“This is good idea amigo, but I need speak the boss,” he said. The owner, Pablo, was out of town so I had to wait until the next day.