I think I was most surprised by how many people said, "where are you going again?" followed immediate with "where is that?". Oaxaca is a State in Mexico but the main city, is also named Oaxaca.
I've wanted to go to Oaxaca City and the state for as long as I can remember. Most Americans experience with Mexican food is usually limited to Northern Mexican states or some sort of hybrid made-for-gringo food that sometimes resembles what you might find in the actual nation of Mexico; it's not unlike many Italian-imagraint restaurants heavy on red sauces or plates you'd only seen in a handful of regions actually in Italy.
Oaxaca represents a sort of culinary epicenter for Latin America; which was reason one I wanted to travel there. I wanted high-end cuisine to the hole-in-the-wall places and local markets making my own food and salsa. The second reason, 7 hours away (by driving) is Puerto Escondito, otherwise known as the "Mexican Pipeline" of surfing. Completely South facing, this part of Mexico get's slammed with Southern Hemisphere swell.
Oaxaca blew my expectations away. We made new friends and experienced a warmth and generosity I've I've rarely encountered. I can't wait to go back.