139. Settling for Acupulco

Settling For Acapulco: As I imagine they often do, things got ugly on the way to Acapulco. You would not expect that our mistake was stopping short of it though, in a small beach-and-lagoon town called Pie de la Cuesta. The idea was that we’d be close enough to the amenities of the rowdy new darling of the American Spring Break circuit, but sheltered from the ill effects of the pollution and notorious local drug trade. We had the good word of the guidebook and the better word of some attendees of the wedding in Troncones. Yet within 24 hours of arriving in Pie de La Cuesta, we had witnessed the violent beachside mugging of two Irish girls, been denied swimming by the fiercest, collar-bone-breaking surf I have ever seen and had several unfortunate conversations with the American owner of our hotel that started with statements like, “Now, these Mexicans are not the brightest bunch of people.” We didn’t stick around.

What better antidote then, than the semi-sanitized experience of Acapulco’s unplanned beachfront megalopolis? Our version of it anyway, which does not allow for the swanky Four Seasons pampering, but rather the middling Best Western so-so sleep. Still expensive by our standards, but with unexpected perks like the in-room “Name That Stain” game and a balcony overlooking the pool that hosts boisterous, emceed water aerobics classes every hour. Never mind the invading hordes of unattended children in the pool at all hours – because the cheap beach hotel is also the family beach hotel.

Amy: Man that pool has a lot of chlorine!
Me: I think the chemicals are a good thing.
Amy: I don’t know.
Me: Do you know how many people use that thing in a day?
Amy: Mmm hmm.
Me: Think of all the weird fluids in there.
Amy: Ok, that’s enough.
Me: And the skin! So much skin flaking off everywhere.

But there is good news here, because Acapulco still delivers enough of the retro-beach-vacation campiness we expected, via the neon-clad motor lodges, all nite diners and best of all, the cliff divers. Los Clavadistas. With abs and nerves of steel, these guys have been delivering the best kind of tourist trap – the kind that involves Speedos and looks good on a postcard – five times a day, from heights of 120 feet, since the 1930s. It’s a serious crowd pleaser and the setting is stunning; a sunset palette above, waves crashing below and the Catholic cross-signing Clavadistas swan diving between. Amy nearly started an international incident with some French people who were blocking everyone’s view, but that’s nothing new. It made me realize that there have been so many of these nasty little run-ins with the French on this trip. The peak of it probably came in the Philippines, when a member of the French Survivor film crew refused to tell me what time it was, by laughing at me. Maybe that’s the book we´ll write. “Observations Sur Le Français D’outre-Mer, Self-Righteous American Edition.” Printed only in English. In stores bientôt.


  1. ron says:

    damn French.

    you need me to drive your VW back to PDX?

  2. Cassie says:

    Nice tan Amy!