The first thing I noticed was how much cleaner Zijuatanejo was compared to Acapulco. In Acapulco, we rode in a dingy buggy taxi, with duct-taped seats and a peeling roof. The taxis in Zijuatanejo were a shiny black, with nice clean, new interiors. All around us were huge houses overlooking the ocean. In the center was a buzzing shopping scene. Admittedly there were quite a few people begging, but the area still felt safer and cleaner than in Acapulco.
Clearly, Zihuatanejo is a resort town, and caters to such. You won’t find much local culture here—which was a disappointment for me—but I did find the most relaxing, enjoyable experience on that particular cruise ship. First we decided to explore the shopping. Ziahuatanejo is filled with pedestrian streets, lined with shops selling everything from Mexican candy to expensive glassworks. I bought a pretty necklace with beads that looked like rough pearls. (Unfortunately, this broke a few months later.) A little girl was trying very hard to sell us some fans, which weren’t very pretty. When we told her no and walked away, I looked back at her. She looked over to the side at her parents (who I had just noticed) with the saddest, most defeated look on her face. I know this is how they get you, but I couldn’t help it. I decided to buy one, but I wanted my pick. I stood there, struggling to remember how to say, “Can I see?” My head was only giving me Japanese, but eventually I managed to remember “Puedo mirar?” which I think is close. Just as I remembered, another lady went to the girl and bought a dozen. The girl looked elated, and I felt relieved from my duty to purchase one.