If you’re expecting a post on the sights and sounds of Acapulco this is going to be a disappointment.
In the three days I spent there I didn’t go to the beach, didn’t check out the nightlife nor did I see what there is to see. Most of my time was spent catching up on the blog, working on the bike, and getting the laundry done. The rest of the time I spent productively lounging by the pool.
I didn’t stay in Acapulco itself but in an outlying beach area called Pie De La Cuesta (Foot Of The Hill). Pie De La Cuesta has a population of approximately 11,000 humans and precisely 34,857 dogs. I know this because anytime I was out walking or on the bike the dogs attacked me like nowhere else I’ve been. Elsewhere in Mexico, dogs are the laid back, sleep-on-the footpath type but this place was filled with rabid guard dogs. And they were everywhere. As soon as one started barking, the dog next door would start up, leading to a chain reaction of a neighbourhood-wide cacophony at any time of the day or night. Acapulco is the first major Mexican city I’ve been to so far on this trip, and is known for crime , so I guess that’s the reason for so many aggressive guard dogs.
I stayed in a great, cheap hotel here. Like most hotels here the exterior looks awful, but the grounds inside the walls were spectacular. As far as Mexican hotels go, you cant judge a book by its cover.
So, I spent my time taking care of outstanding chores, like the laundry, washing the bike, changing dollars getting a haircut etc.
I also took the time to customize the bike a little. I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous posts that the bike attracts a lot of attention here in Mexico. Whenever I stop I’m peppered with questions about the bike and my trip. I was mulling this over when I got the idea why not put the answers to these commonly asked questions on the bike?
I want to give a little background on the reasoning that got me to this conclusion. You see, , I work as a software product manager. One of my tasks was to identify what software enhancements clients wanted most. Once identified I would write up the requirements and hand these off to be developed and implemented.
Using this line of thinking, I figured my current “clients” – the Mexican Public – would be better served if key facts about my trip could be displayed prominently on the bike itself. It would be a combination FAQ and calling card. The sides of the aluminum luggage cases would be the perfect canvas for this.
I scrawled down the requirements on the back of the hotel menu and went in search of a sign painter. Sign painting is a very much an in demand profession in Mexico so it didn’t take me long to find one, and for a fistful of pesos he got to work there and then.
The bike had been running poorly for a few days. The idle speed had dropped under 1,000 RPM and made low speed maneuvering difficult. I think the high humidity of the coastal route I was taking had played havoc with the ECU and caused it to idle at low revs. When I first noticed this I wasn’t too worried but then the bike started conking out more often. At one point it conked out while I was going over a speed bump and the resulting deceleration nearly threw me over the handlebars. In cases like this Google is your friend, so I went online to figure out the problem. Sure enough enough, after a quick search I found the answer. There’s an idle adjustment screw beside that radiator and after a quick adjustment the Suzuki was running like new again.
All my chores done, It was time to pack up and keep going south. this meant going through Acapulco. I wasn’t looking forward to this as it’s a large city (1 million plus inhabitants), with notoriously dense traffic.
With this in mind I left at 6.30 AM hoping to beat the rush hour and get through the city without too much trouble. Dream on! Within half a mile I got caught up in a huge tailback. The main road into the city was only a two lane and was jammed up as as far as I could see. However, I realized this is Mexico and anything goes traffic-wise. The oncoming lane was mostly empty so I just pulled into it and overtook the gridlock for about 5 miles into center. It wasn’t the most sensible thing to do but it beat sitting in traffic in this heat. If I pulled this stunt in the US, I would have gotten a ticket and would have been up in front of the judge in no time. My driving habits have definitely gotten more reckless since I’ve been in Mexico, but to make progress in traffic here I’ve learnt you need to be very aggressive and not worry too much about the rules. If you see a space on the street where the bike fits through, just go for it.
In this way I got through Acapulco without too much delay. At one point I took a wrong turn and ended up going down a pedestrian street through a covered market. Again, because this is Mexico , nobody batted an eyelid. Traffic might be severely congested and chaotic here, but the upside is you can do what you want to get through without worrying about niceties like traffic regulations.
I ended up in the ultra mellow beach of Zipolite. I’m going to spend a few days here since this is the last beach I’ll see for a while before turning inland and up over the mountains to San Cristobal De Las Casa, Chiapas. From there, its onwards to Guatemala.