As far as your upcoming trip south:

1712682-905570-thumbnail.jpgZipolite is the famous beach with $12-a-night hotels and $5 whole bass meals. I would recommend crashing at any of the beachfront places, then walking to the northern end of the beach to the hotel called Alquimista, where the Argentine can rent you a fantastic bungalow for around $40 to $50 per night. Clean, safe, beautiful. On the sands. Zipolite is a 5-hour bus ride over the mountains from Oaxaca city. You could also go from Oaxaca to Puereto Escondido (more of a surfer's scene), and then take the bus south to Puerto Angel and then a taxi to Zipolite. I can give you more details, but you can read the ins and outs in the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide books on Oaxaca or Mexico. If you want to relax, look at beautiful young people, read, and sleep on and off while eating fruit and fish, Zipolite is almost paradise. As I said before, I've been to a lot of wild places on Earth, but Zipolite is its own special experience.