Mar 14 - Acapulco, Mexico
SANDY SHORE: I looked for Sergio today, sadly, I didn’t find him! (In case you’re not familiar, SmoothLounge.com plays music by a fun and savvy artist called Sergio In Acapulco… smooth chill grooves with a tongue in cheek sensibility.)
We did find the Acapulco Cliff Divers however! A tourist thing for sure, but it was well worth the time. One of Acapulco’s many claims to fame… the divers are fantastic… and highly skilled, reading the waters before ascending. We were delighted to see a chick diver in the mix, so we yelled “Go Girl!” before her dive.
After catching the cliff divers, we stocked up on Mexican beers, a little tequila and then scooted over to Paradise Beach where swimmers we’re warned by a hovering helicopter to keep out of the water. Apparently there was a massive earthquake in Panama a day or two ago… news to us… that had created a tsunami affect on the beaches here and the waves were massive, sucking in everything on the beach out with them including chairs, blankets, people… all of it.
We stayed up on the deck where it was safe but filled with crazy daredevils who were bungee jumping into a deep pool, while others tossed themselves into the same pool at a slightly lower level. Ms. Donna couldn’t be stopped… despite my efforts to remind her of her age. She hurled herself into the water while cheering Carnival entertainment staff members encouraged her… an impressive maneuver Miss D!
We enjoyed our first Acapulco experience… a beautiful city of both old and new. It reminded me of San Clemente, CA – a Southern California coastal town that I used to call home back in my early radio days. I’m quick to fall in love with rolling hills along the ocean that are dotted with colorful buildings in sunny climates. It’s food for the soul.
Onward to Puerto Vallarta! ~ss
DONNA KAY PHILLIPS : Coming back to Mexico was like coming home, in fact, it was coming home to North America. Mexico is far more North American than I had ever imagined now that South America is a part of my life's experience. My broken chain of Spanish verbs and nouns work just fine here and I understand the Mexican people a lot better than the other Latin countries we visited.
I have been to Mexico a lot but never to Acapulco. We hired a taxi for the day and got an intepreteur and personal shopper in the deal. It was an interesting changeup for being in a new port, especially after the bus tours vs. hoofing it on our own.
All was good until he renegotiated the price at the end of the day before returning us to the ship. We were told that other taxi drivers tried to charge ship's passengers upwards of $40 for a 10 min ride back. Beware of this if you come here; the lack of Spring Breakers may be causing a prevelance in shady business practices in order to make up lost revenues - either way, everyone needs to make a living, being integral about it is what's key in my opinion.
We saw more of the city this way, taking the traffic jam downtime to snap some nice shots of the heart of the city. I like the dirty, the imperfect, the colors - especially the old faded colors mixed with brighter choices than we ever see in our part of the world. When I go for walks with Basil (our Aussie Shepherd) through the Pacific Grove neighborhoods, I love to look at the houses... right around dusk is the best time, with the glow of inside lights set against the pastel sky.
However, when you compare the many colors of American beige with the neighborhoods of any country in South America or Mexico... well there is no comparison. These cities are dirty, to be sure, old and cracked and dirt filled - but they are vivid with raw life and emotion. I have become accustomed to walking with my camera in one hand at all times. Our new crew friend, Martina, whose photos we have featured throughout this log, has pushed my own photographic eye to new levels. She has come from Czech Republic to work onboard the Carnival ships, rising to the top of her position as one of THE most popular head waitresses in the fleet, but also to see the world - and man has she seen it.
When I saw these broken, dirty, vivid colors and honest faces through Martina's lens, I was extremely moved. Because of this, I have become more inspired to carry our camera at all times and now I literally snap at random because there is just so much to take in that is not in our sterile every day world. A place can not be so wealthy in money but extremely wealthy in the way it reveals it rich past on it's streets. We drove by people sitting in hollowed out cement rooms, open to the street, revealing only a countertop and a chair. There the people sat "running" their business - it couldn't be more opposite of a typical drive down most anytown USA. Granted the inefficiency speaks for itself, but there's something oh so alluring about the different ways we all let the days pass.
After our city / cliff divers / shopping excursion we went back to the ship to become beach ready, bringing sandwiches back for our all day cabbies. We ended up in a typical in a beach side hot-spot called PARADISE where I danced with macaws, stared down a Toucan and stroked the feathers of a willing Cockatoo. The tequila went down smooth, the food was tasty and the waves were enormous due to an 8.1 earthquake off the Panama coast a day prior. While we egged on the bungie jumpers we watched insane members of the crew dive into waves 3x their own size and surface unharmed fortunately.
There is an understandable need to release energy coming from all parts of this ship's crew and we loved releasing our own with theirs as they encouraged me to jump off the a 30' platform into the deep pool below - a feat I am ever fearful of. This has been a long long cruise and an apparent lack of gratitude and crankiness has set in amongst a certain set of passengers - it's simple wearing and for 7 straight weeks, they don't get to swap out passengers as usual.
My father, Sandy and I have absolutely loved living life aboard and checking in with our Carnival friends daily - I know a part of us will always be on this ship along with echoes of the amazement and laughter and dancing and singing we have all shared. Despite all of the annoyances I am still not ready to come back. - dkp