Growing up in the 70’s television was a way to escape, to dream, to imagine the world from my life in Renton, Washington. Weekend afternoons my small 10 inch (Don’t be Nasty) black and white TV would crackle on with this great voice over.
“Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. The human drama of athletic competition. This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports.” Check out this clip…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv368yWOSas
Every year ABC covered the World Cliff Diving Championships from Acapulco. What an amazing scene. Blue sky, jagged cliffs and young sculpted men standing on rocks 41 meters high, preparing to dive into the churning tidal waters at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
Oh, Acapulco! What a dream, maybe one day I could be there and dive from those cliffs. The imagination of a teenage boy. Caroline remembers “The Love Boat” and Captain Stubing coming to port in Acapulco, on her TV, on Friday nights. Come on Acapulco you are so cool.
During the glory days of the 1940’s to the 1970’s Acapulco was one of Mexico’s oldest beach resorts and drew Hollywood stars like John Wayne, Rita Hayworth, Gregory Peck, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. The list goes on and on.
In 2014 gang violence and staggering murder numbers chased the world away. It has been both the sixth deadliest city in Mexico and the seventh deadliest city in the world. The US government has warned its citizens not to travel here. In 2016 there were 918 murders and the homicide rate was one of the highest in the world.
Warnings continue today from the US Government. Our friends tell us not to worry but to be smart and aware just like any big city in the world. We are told that, for the most part, the violence is between the gangs themselves.
Here we are in 2022 visiting Acapulco for the first time. The rocky coastline is beautiful, the sky and water are blue and of course the people are first rate, beautiful and kind. Our favorite courtesy when we say gracias, the people of Acapulco and many cities in Mexico reply… “Es un placer.” Which means it’s a pleasure.
We are here to explore, learn and of course relax. Oh, and yes we are here to enjoy fine cuisine. Restaurant Zibu does not disappoint. You will sit upon a rocky cliff, looking down at Puerto Marques Bay among giant trees and a waterfall. As the sun sets the magic of the environment and the flavors of Chef Eduardo Palazuelos begin. The food is dubbed MexTai. Caroline and I could not believe the Tataki de Atun which is described like this on the menu: Yes, learn some Spanish!
Láminas de atún aleta amarilla selladas a la perfección, ahumadas con canela; acompañadas de cebolla rebozada con salsa de jengibre y soya limón…Wow! Fantastico! We wanted to order another of the same but decided to get the Phuket Salad which is a perfect blend of Tai and Mexican flavors.
Again, Hollywood may be helping spark interest in this classic beach town. Some have called Acapulco “The Comeback Kid” as stars like Brad Pitt, Selma Hyak and Antonio Banderas return to stay at places like the 1950’s classic hotel Las Brisas. The Banyan Tree Hotel is also incredible. Banyan Tree sits on an entire peninsula above Puerto Marques Bay. Our guide told that in the 1500’s Spanish Pirates landed here to hide out.
Today we saw Acapulco! The real Acapulco. Driving in and around the cliffs you can imagine a Formula One race roaring over the hills and through the three main barrios of Acapulco. Transitioning through new Acapulco to “Old/New”Acapulco and finally to Old Acapulco. We drove by beautiful old hotels and wound our way up and around Quebrada. We stopped at a famous mural created by Diego Rivera in 1957.
Around the corner and through old neighborhoods from the 1940’s is the Hotel Mirrardor and the La Perla restaurant which is a famous old haunt of Hollywood stars and a grandstand for watching the famous Cliff Divers of Acapulco.
What a thrill as the young men step to the cliff and wave to the crowd gathered on the hill and in boats around the swirling waters. The tide pulses in and out as the current tosses water onto the rocky shore. After a wave the men steady themselves raise their arms for balance and launch into the surf 135 feet below. Our guide Ruben tells us, “The divers have one US second, not a Mexican second, one US second to hit the water and return up because the the depth of water in the “Gulch” can vary from 4.8 meters (16 ft) to 5.8 meters (19 ft) depending on the tides.”
Without fear or hesitation we have found our favorite Mexican beach town. Acapulco! Just the name creates a sense of warmth and good feelings.