Sunday, March 27, 2011

Acupulco – kinda like they told me about it

When we were in Manzanillo we took a long cab ride in from Las Hadas to the Centro section. When the cabbie found out we had a few words of Spanish, at least enough to match his few words of English, the trip turned into a joint language lesson. The topic naturally followed into “where are you going?”. When we mentioned Acapulco the cabbie went into his best discouragement speech, clearly letting us know it was too dangerous and full of Narco violence.

We showed up in the large bay that makes up Acapulco just before dark after a good sail down from Punta Papanoa. Henry on the catamaran Rapscullion had been here before and headed to an empty spot near the pangas around the Port Captains office that was smooth and in 20 feet of water. The other anchorage is deep and crowded with moorings. Next morning we hooked up with Henry and Tony and Shannon from Sweetie to do some touristing. Since they charge 100 pesos to tie up a dinghy here and we weren’t comfortable just leaving ours on the beach, we all jumped into Henry’s ride and split the tie-up fee.

We did a busy day of hitting the tourist spots. First, the main square and local church. Then off to the Fuerte San Diego. The old fort that defended Acapulco’s trade (in what was then New Spain) from some famous pirates, English (think Francis Drake) and others, who all wanted some of Spain’s riches.

acapulcoIMG_7065Heading into the fort that is now an interesting museum covering the history of the Acapulco 

acapulcoIMG_7059

Checking the view from the upper cannon deck

acapulcoIMG_7060

Looking down on Jeorgia from the Fort

The Hotel section of Acapulco seems to be well protected and populated with a lot of Tourist Bureau helpers, whose job it seems is to keep tourists out of trouble. We wanted to go up and see the Diego Rivera mosaic mural. It is above the marina where we tied up the dink.  The Tourist Bureau guys made it clear to us that we should see the mural in day light and that we should take a cab up and have him wait for us. OK by us. We piled in a cab and headed up.

acapulcoIMG_7068

Today was Chris’ birthday. For a B-day present I decided to give her a wall with an original Rivera.

acapulcoIMG_7077

Tony, Shannon, Paul and Chris trying to improve on the Diego Riva mosaic of a mythical Quetzal. 

acapulcoIMG_7069

You got to love the simplistic signature

Tony and Chris really wanted to see the iconic Acapulco cliff divers. Something to do with too many years of watching Wide World of Sports and listening to Frank Sinatra as kids. This was a 15 minute walk from the main square and we were told it was a safe part of town. The cliff divers do 4 or 5 shows a day. We got a front row spot in the bar that overlooks the cliffs ready for the first night time dive.

acapulcoIMG_7089

The official union of divers

acapulcoIMG_7095

Two divers preparing to jump into the shallow abyss

acapulcoIMG_7099

Diver standing next to the chapel that they pray at before each dive. So far it seems to be working.

acapulcoIMG_7096  

OK, it was too dark to get any action shots, so here’s an abstract of two divers on their way down.

 acuplucodive

A shot borrowed from travelresources site online.

It was Chris’ birthday, so she got a cake:

acapulcoIMG_7103

and a fantasy date with the cliff divers:

acapulcoIMG_7104

They really are short and young, Chris has not turned into a Amazon giant.

We walked back from the Cliff divers around 10pm. Henry was hungry so we stopped at a tamale place near the malecon. It was late for us, but just the right time for the locals to come out for dinner, so the tables were crowded with families out enjoying a summer evening tamale feast. In the street parking in front of the restaurant were a group of trucks and cars with police officer like occupants. Most had dark AFI shirts or bullet-proof vests on, others had PGR shirts. The AFI is apparently something analogous to our FBI and the PGR are special state police.  There were two white pickups and a Suburban like dark truck loaded with these guys. There were also 2 or 3 sedans full. It all looked pretty low-key, with a few women talking to them and one guy on his cell-phone. We finished eating just as this troop started to pull out.

We walked along the malecon looking for our way back to the dinghy dock. We turned down a dark road that headed us to a dead-end because the tide was too high to cross the beach. On our way back we heard the first shots. As we walked up the street some locals came out and told us we couldn’t turn right (the direction we’d come from) at the end of the street because of a shooting – but left was OK. Off we went- to the left and finally found the entrance to the marina. After a short negotiation the guard let us in. By this time a police helicopter was flying overhead. We walked down the dark path toward the dock and stopped near the pool deck. This is when the volleys started. We heard at least 100 rounds of gun fire go off. We were smart enough to hang tight next to the thick stucco wall and could see the action fro across the small bay we’d just walked around. The police helicopter decided it would be smart to turn off his lights as he flew round and round us overhead. We could see guys inside a hotel-like building moving around with flash lights and heard a few more rounds.

The excitement went on for another half an hour or so, then we decided to brave taking the dink back out to our boats. Henry was driving and convinced that this was just part of Chris’ special birthday celebration. As they say, all’s well…

Paul 

PS: From the morning newspaper report, this was a planned operation to capture 3 ‘assassins’, who are now in a Mexico City jail.

4 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Chris! It looks like you had a wonderful day.

    And Paul, with the grey beard you look more and more like Dad.....

    Love you guys,

    Liz

    ReplyDelete
  2. Okay just saw the picture of Chris picking up a couple of guys...you go girl!

    Liz

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy Birthday Chris!! What a way to celebrate - two cute hunks! not as cute as Paul, of course. We're currently in Santa Rosalia. We'll fly out of Mexico May 3 from Guaymas then back May 15 to get Saben ready for hard dock and 3 months of storage. We'll probably travel Europe for a few months-- Amsterdam (wink, wink). I miss hiking and shopping with you. And I'm quite a baker now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy (a little late) Birthday Chris and Happy (a little early) Birthday Paul. I see you have high tailed it out of town after the local greetings! Glad you're safe.

    Best John

    ReplyDelete