I visited Acapulco on a cruise a few years back. This was probably the place in Mexico I had heard the most about since my childhood. In my mind, I could see white sands, palm trees, blue water and not much else. I knew I was going to a holiday spot par excellence.
As things were, I had to put something in the mail for Guadalajara, so I thought I would use the local mail. While my friends headed out towards a luxury hotel´s pool, I went the other way towards downtown Acapulco.
I was surprised to find as busy and dirty a Latin American city as there ever was. Everything was very much alive in that chaotic way Latin America has sometimes, that makes some foreigners find it exotic.
One thing I will never forget about my walk through those crowded, dirty streets, while looking for the elusive post office, was a street vendor speaking on a cheap scratchy-sound mic, advertising medicine outside a drugstore, saying things like “If your head aches, take so-and-so, the best remedy for a headache,” only with funnier words and in the voice of a circus MC of some sort.
That image stuck in my mind. I don´t know why, but I found it tremendously endearing. I loved the naïvete of the people who would buy medicine that was being advertised with such methods, as if I had been traveling in time to a more naive era, less online banner and more town-crier style.
When I was presented with the boxes in which my stuff was to be shipped to Guadalajara, I could hardly believe that they would ever make it there. The address was handwritten directly on the box, which was secured by cords like a parcel from a different era. The people were friendly and I thought also a bit innocent.
As it turned out, my packages did reach their destination, and I also reached the hotel pool. The people I saw downtown, would never have access to the place I was in now. Apparently, either Luis Miguel or Ricky Martin or one of those latin pop stars used to stay there, and there were photos of him all over the hotel. They all look the same to me, so I can´t remember which one it was, but I know it must have been some slightly feminine-looking singer who drove girls crazy.
We ate some delicious shrimp quesadillas, enjoyed some awesome margaritas and played pool volleyball, which did include me getting hit on the head by a fast ball, or else hitting somebody with one, I can´t remember anymore. There were the usual fallings in and out of love you can expect from a young crowd on a Mexico holiday spending a sunny day at an Acapulco hotel pool, but not much was left of that that any of us would remember as we sailed quietly away from this beautiful place of colorful contradictions.