Tag Archives: Acapulco history

Road Trip To Acapulco (4) 1973

23 Feb

After three weeks of studying Mexican culture at the University in Cholula, Mexico, two students and myself were ready to do some exploring on our own. The guys, one from California and the other from Connecticut had a VW van. In those days, Acapulco was the Cancun of today, made famous by movie stars and visited by the Prince of Wales. While drinking in a local bar and looking for a cheap destination, one of my companions was told to take the highway through Acapulco, turn left and travel to a roadside fruit stand and ask for Roberto.

Can you imagine heading out on a eight hour road trip with such flimsy directions? Well, without GPS or even a map, we did just that, and the funny thing is we found him! But I am getting ahead of myself.

The trip from Cholula to Acapulco today.

The van had been modified, with the passenger seats removed and a “bed” built in the back. We stored a case of beer underneath the bed and carried very little else. I remember being stretched out on the mattress passing the time when the van suddenly lurched to the side of the road. Unthinking and half asleep, I slid open the side door to see what was the issue, only to find a rifle pointed at my face. Guys in fatigues searched the vehicle and let us go. We either didn’t have what they were looking for or weren’t worth the effort. I don’t recall being particularly shaken by the experience. Such is youth and privilege. Today we might not have been so lucky.

This was the part of Acapulco that the tourists didn’t see. There was no electricity or running water.

After many hours of driving, we crested a hill and the ocean filled the horizon in front of us. I had never seen the Pacific before and was quite in awe of the lovely sight of crystal blue water. It was quite a contrast to the poverty we later found further north.

Women getting water from a pipe jutting out of the hillside.

My companions were hell bent on buying some marijuana to take with us on our vacation. I was not much of a pot smoker but mostly along for the ride so what the heck. Our search took us from a parking lot along the ocean to the slums overlooking Acapulco, and later to a field with tiny cannabis plants growing around my feet.

None of us had ever seen such poverty. The guys left me to watch the van while they tried to score some dope.

To find out how we got ripped off and eventually found our way to Roberto, check back next week for the continuing saga. I couldn’t have made this up, believe me.

While waiting in the van, this man stopped to ask if I wanted to buy marijuana. I snapped his picture as he walked away with his child in tow.



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