The Acapulco Insider, Issue #01: "The Mark of a Tourist"
This may seem counterproductive for a site promoting tourism, but it is vital information to protect you
against scammers who will take advantage of you as a tourist.
Acapulco is a world-famous, exotic and exciting T-O-U-R-I-S-T destination. Like most resort towns its economy largely
depends on tourism, from the most fabulous discos to the impetuous 8-year-old "chicle" vendor you will inevitably meet
on the street. As a gringo (basically, any foreigner receives this mark) you are assumed to be extremely wealthy and
generous and will receive a warm welcome from every vendor and establishment in the tourist zone. This type of profiling
is not reserved for gringos because Mexican vacationers often receive a similar but slightly subdued treatment.
This is not bad in itself. It actually feels good to get the VIP treatment now and then. However, just be aware that
amidst the majority of those with honest intentions there will be scammers who see you as easy money and who will take you
for a ride. For tips on things and places to avoid, visit the Travel Acapulco official list of
Things to Avoid.
This Issue's Random Expedition
The evening started off at the Villa Vera resort for the art exposition of
Eduardo Medina Havlicek. I ran into a surprising number of friends there and made some new
ones, which is making me feel almost at home in Mexico. The outdoor show featured a substantial collection of Eduardo's
paintings as well as dancers, music, reporters, wine, and food. It was a first-class event all the way and felt both
elegant and unpretentious. After the show, a group assembled and headed to Mangos -
supposedly there was a Big Brother Mexico event there. Much to my relief, we arrived too late for the event and got to
enjoy our beers and wear our homemade balloon hats in relative peace. "Flash", our local superhero, set the energy level
for the evening, hence his new nickname.
In contrast to most gringos (and Flash), Mexican people like to sit down (and
stay seated) at clubs. I still haven't perfected the art of breaking into conversations at other tables - I'll give my
chances 50-50 before I am totally assimilated by the Mexican culture. After Mangos, we ended up at MiXclub, where I tried
to convince my compadres to breakdance. After numerous unsuccessful arguments, I decided to enter into an extended
political discussion and then a much shorter one where I was reminded that politics (along with religion) were not safe
topics. I nodded in agreement. . . just like at home.
Halloween in Acapulco
Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. It's the one day that I can dress up like a pirate and appear normal.
Unfortunately, the Mexican people do not share my enthusiasm for wearing costumes. After all, they have their own Day of
the Dead holiday which is pretty cool in itself, as long as you enjoy the same foods as your deceased relatives.
This year I went to Palladium as my pirate alter ego, only to be confused with that
other swashbuckler, Zorro (that's my friend, a real pirate, in the photo at left). It didn't help that I was the only non-staff
person wearing a costume even though they had advertised a costume party. Ironically I felt that I actually stuck out less as
Zorro than as my usual gringo self. Taking that into consideration, every day is starting to feel like Halloween in Mexico.