Diving and Dancing
We arrived in Acapulco this morning, in bright sunshine and higher temperatures than we’ve had so far. It seemed like the whole ship breathed a sigh of relief as waiters in La Veranda opened up the outdoor seating and changed into their warm weather gear.
I was looking out over our rail, at what I thought was a small pedalo or similar with four people in it. They seemed to be just sitting there, basking in the sun, watching our ship manoeuvre into place. I thought I’d take their picture – and only when uploading it to the laptop later did I see it’s a buoy! Duh. I thought those folks were sitting very still…
We decided to skip an early lunch before going off on our tour at 12.15 and instead, tucked into the fruit Suren had left us this morning. Oh, and that’s water, not gin!
There was a lively musical accompaniment to disembarking and in good Mexican tradition, the enthusiasm more than made up for the intonation!
We drove through the old town, spotting the old VW Beetles still operating as taxis – something we remembered from the last time we were in Mexico, more than twenty years ago (not counting yesterday!)
There was a heavy police presence, hopefully calming those who were anxious about security here. Some were reluctant to go ashore, though we took a more considered view of the issue and were confident in Regent’s decision to bring us here – something they would most certainly not have done if there had been any doubts regarding safety.
We’d have liked a clear view of the Zocalo and the cathedral but sadly for us, the mobile cancer screening unit was parked in the way. No matter – cancer screening is way more important than tourist photographs!
As we drove, our guide Patricia pointed out the old hotels, many of which were opened in the 1930s, when Johnny Weismuller, Rita Hayworth, Hedy Lamarr, John Wayne and the like began to visit here and build holiday homes in the neighbourhood. These days, we were told, rooms are available for $10 a night, everything included (with 2 Alka Seltzers in the morning, she added!)
Our destination was the Hotel Mirador perched on the cliff high above the ocean.
La Quebrada is the site where the cliff divers operate and they were going to put on a special show, just for us.
With Pina Colada in hand, we trooped downstairs to the viewing area, unsure of what to expect.
Once there, we noted several divers warming up at the bottom of the cliff face.
Patricia pointed out the ledge at the top, where a small shrine was situated and the Mexican flag was flying.
We spotted someone there on a slightly lower ledge, waiting to dive, perhaps?
But the divers had competition from a bunch of whales out there in the ocean. Can you spot the spray from one of them over there?
As one offered a few words to the Saints, other divers were preparing for their moment of fame.
Others were climbing up that cliff face, barefoot and with no assistance. I suppose they’ve done it a few times before but even so, it was pretty amazing. Patricia told us there are 54 professional divers in all, most in a Union who oversee the whole operation.
We were getting a bit antsy by now. We’d drunk our Pinas, it was hot standing in the sun, waiting, and we wanted them to get on with it. Terrible, isn’t it? Men are risking life and limb to put on a show for us and we can’t even exercise a little patience
And then one dived off the cliff! Wow! Even though he’d (only!) dived from the lower platform, it was still very high and precarious.
I had my camera on “burst” setting, because after all of that, I didn’t want to miss the perfect shot!
Did I get it?
Well, I guess so! But at the time, it was hard to tell. Those cliffs don’t make an easy backdrop to see what’s going on and of course, my camera screen isn’t so clear in the bright sunshine.
Oh, but there goes another one!
By the time he’d struck his perfect diving pose for the camera, he was in front of the rock – but hey, I felt pleased to have captured the action at all. Patricia had told us that they are allowed only one dive a day, because the repeated action of diving into the water from that height can damage the retina, and that although there have been broken bones and minor injuries, no professional diver has ever lost his life making what looks like an awfully risky stunt.
Now, they were getting clever, doing somersaults and other tricks.
But you know, that “other” show was going on in the bay!
Where to look next? Watch the whales or the divers?
Well, easy answer: the last diver was about to go from the highest ledge, the one from where we’d been told it’s impossible to see the water when you jump. Sure enough, he did the fanciest dive of all, a fitting finale to the show.
As we turned around to return to the bus however, someone called for our attention.
There was a dance show for us to see as well.
Gorgeous, colourful dancers who moved with spirit and passion.
And when the music changed to what I recognised as “the Mexican Hat Dance”, I waited for the chap to take his hat off and dance on it…I waited a while! (He did in the end, though didn’t dance on it but around it!)
And that was that for the first part of our time in Acapulco. I’ll continue the story in the next post – after dinner!