I had never been to Mexico before, so our first stop to Acapulco was a bit of an eye opener. First, general impressions were along these lines: hot, bustling, kind of dirty, colorful, hot, inexpensive, lots of guys hitting on me, lots of begging, hot, beautiful, hot, intoxicating. It was an overload for the senses.
Afterwards, we finally hailed a cab. I remembered from my Spanish high school class that you can haggle with taxi cab drivers, but unfortunately I didn’t trust my Spanish skills. (Actually, because I had already started studying Japanese, any time I tried to remember my Spanish I could only think of the Japanese word.) Luckily my grandpa is fluent, so hopefully he got us a good deal. The cab we got into was a tiny yellow bug with tearing seats held together with duct tape. He took us to a pedestrian neighborhood filled with shops. I wish I had a camera there to document the amazing trees in the center park. They were huge and dripping with children while their parents sat on the benches, lazing in the heat of the day. There was a vendor selling balloons, with his huge display of helium and color.
One of my favorite things we saw was the beautiful white-washed, domed church in the center of the neighborhood. The paintings along the walls and ceiling were beautiful, and the open, airy design of the building was like nothing I had ever seen. The walls only covered about 2/3rds of the area, with much of it open to the square. It made sense: who would want to go to church in Mexico if you were all stuffed into a hot, closed off building? I tried to find out more about this kind of church but unfortunately Google failed me. My pictures will have to suffice.
Meandering, we made our way to the La Quebrada cliffs along the shore. The sun was winding its way down the horizon, casting the beautiful golden light of early evening. We found a restaurant overlooking the water and cliffs. The view was beautiful, and my food was fine, but unfortunately my brother (notoriously picky at the time) was tricked by his American comfort food of fried chicken: it was raw in the middle. The restaurant reimbursed us after my brother refused to eat anything else (his appetite long gone by then). Despite this incident, we were happy to stay there and soak in the sun and sea spray.
La Quebrada’s cliffs are famous worldwide, and they are the home of the La Quebrada cliff divers, who perform their daring feats for the public. Apparently there had been a great international cliff diving competition only moments before we got there, with the US competing! I was so disappointed! You’d think our cruise line would have known about an event like that, and told us to high-tail it over there. We had no idea. Oh well, someday I’ll see them. At the time, I was happy just to look at the sea, feeling a wonderful symmetry to the day between the view of the San Diego Fort and the view from the cliffs.
Overall, it was a great introduction to Mexico. Back in my bed on the cruise ship, feeling my body rock slightly with the waves, I anxiously awaited the morning and our next destination.
Have you ever been to Acapulco? Did you get to see the cliff divers? Ever had a restaurant serve you raw chicken? Let me know in the comments!