Saturday, May 30, 2009

To Acapulco

April 9th to 13th 2009

The modern resort of Ixtapa has an older, less well known brother. Just 10kms East in the next bay is the more modest resort of Zihuatanejo (See-wata-necko) where you're more likely to find typical Mexican families soaking up the natural beauty. It's a short ride up and over the hummock dividing rich and poorer...



Zihuatanejo was made famous as the beach escape at the end of "The Shawshank Redemption" where Morgan Freeman's 'Red' meets Tim Robbin's Andy Dufresne after all those prison shenanegans. I can see why they chose it. It's a gorgeous golden sanded bay, with small hotel buildings climbing their higgledy piggledy way up the steep rocky arms outstretched to encircle blue waters....



The buildings are much more restrained and less imposing than the gargantuan resort complexes of polished glass and crome monsters than dominate Ixtapa. It has a more relaxed feel and I like it. We stroll, and eat fish.

But unlike Andy and Red we have to leave and we continue to meander past coconut and banana plantations beside more coastal Edens....



It's a 3 dimentional road and some of the climbs are pretty steep, but never long enough to seriously tax the legs, and besides there are enough palm shacks at the road side to supply a cold coconut to refresh weary travellers. Plus the climbs always improve the views....



Flanked as it is by the huge Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range, this whole coast line is a huge drainage area, and we have crossed countless bridges over broad rivers. The rivers flow even now at the end of the dry season and will become raging torrents in the rainy months to come. Dilapidated buildings hint at their destructive power as they undercut river bank and foundation....



After the small town of Papanoa, the road again turns inland and only occasional glimpses of the blue ocean are offered through thick jungle. The ride becomes hot and dull once more and 2 relatively non descript days of riding pass in a sheen of sweat.

We crawl through the chaotic, conjested streets of Coyuca, the last town before our next destination....



And then we get to understand what congested really means as we approach the grandaddy of all resorts - Acapulco. Yes it truly is loco in Acapulco. The streets are a zoo as we duck and dive along cliff and headland approaching the 7 mile wide bay that was transformed during the 30's and 40's into Mexico's premier holiday destination.

Roads are dominated by blue and white VW beetle taxi cabs and what should be the beautiful suberbs turns out to be a grotty string of greasy car repair shops that toil to keep these smoking relics in business....



We run the gauntlet of these fare seeking psychos as they cleave and carve their demented path through traffic. Pedestrians everywhere are reluctant to twitch or otherwise make a gesture that might cause a tyre smoking U-turn as finely tuned instincts lock in on potential prey. The law of the jungle is alive and well in Acapulco!

Fate smiles and we get to live! We stop at the first hotel we come across and take a few deep breaths....

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