Pody's column: Remembering vacations gone by in AcapulcoThis was one of our favorite vacation spots. It was a quiet city on the bay where we spent three winter vacations. Five couples rented a villa up the hill from the beach, behind the golf course and convention center.
By: Pody Corcoran, Rosemount Town Pages
I turned on the news and the announcer said 22 people had been killed at a beach in Acapulco and many others shot at random throughout the city. Mexican authorities were warning Americans not to vacation there as the drug cartels invaded the city.
This was one of our favorite vacation spots. It was a quiet city on the bay where we spent three winter vacations. Five couples rented a villa up the hill from the beach, behind the golf course and convention center.
We had our own pool, handyman, Poncho; cook, Meechie; and grandma, Grandmama, who washed our clothes on a washboard and dried them on the line. Our watch dog was Polly, the parrot who squawked if any stranger came near our villa. You could hear her a block away.
When we went downtown, we would take the bus. Sunday morning when we went to the cathedral for mass, only one bus ran. It was not unusual to see a mother holding an infant on her lap, a pan of bread rising on one side and a cage with two or three live chickens on the other. They were going to the market.
Several of us woke up at 4 a.m. and bought fresh shrimp from the boats when they came in. We could buy about 20 pounds for $5. They weren’t cleaned and came in assorted sizes but Poncho would clean them and Meechie prepare the best meals. One morning Poncho went fishing for fresh fish for our dinner. I’m not sure what kind he caught, but it was delicious.
We spent one day at the beach JFK and Jackie spent their honeymoon on. Hugh Heffner lived in the penthouse on the top floor of the hotel overlooking that beach. Vendors were not allowed to sell and the police kept tabs on them.
At Sunset Beach North of the city we experienced our first earthquake. The beach chairs and umbrellas were moving right under us. They served the best steak dinners at an outdoor barbeque. The T-bone steaks were at least 2 1/2 inches thick, cooked to perfection and served with a salad and roll.
One day we decided to walk downtown not realizing it was 104 degrees outside. It was eight miles along the beach but I don’t remember being hot. One of the guys had a birthday so we bought a chocolate layer cake at the bakery. It was 12 inches high and after we paid for it, they just handed it to us on a piece of cardboard, no box or cover. Since it was hot we decided to take a cab back to the Villa.
Let me tell you in Mexico, they have two speeds, fast and faster. Since it was rush hour we got the faster ride and the cake jiggled all the way back in one piece in spite of sudden stops and swerving in and out of traffic. It was too warm to buy ice cream and bring it back from the store so we took a bowl and bought 20 scoops for $1 from the ice cream man who came past several times a day.
In Acapulco the schools are open for three eight-hour shifts, 52 weeks a year. Children go to school when their parents are working. We were amazed how these little first graders understood and could transfer to the right bus without parents and still get to the right place. Many of these youngsters came with their parents from the hills outside the city.
We didn’t have any problem eating the food. Our doctor put us on an antibiotic during the time we were there. Some days we’d play golf, swim, go to a concert in the evening or go to a bull fight. During the day we’d all do our own thing but meet at this open bar at 2 in the afternoon before heading back for dinner.
We always had a swim in the afternoon and played cards at night.
When we went on vacation in the winter, we would limit the amount of sun we got during the first week. We’d start out with 20 minutes and increase the exposure every day. The first week, we’d do our shopping, site seeing and the second week, spend time outside relaxing, reading, swimming and getting a tan. I don’t ever remember anyone burning on vacation.
Never in a million years would we guess that violence would come to Acapulco, that quiet, fun loving city on the bay 20 years later. I’m happy to have such wonderful memories of the city.