The Acapulco Insider, Issue #02: "A Whoville Christmas"
Christmas in Acapulco feels like you are living in a Dr. Seuss book. Actually, most days in Mexico feel that way to me,
but it is especially true during the two weeks around Christmas and New Years. In fact, I believe that the Mexican
government mandates that each citizen is required to make five times the normal amount of noise during the holidays.
Music of all kinds is blasting from every house, club, and car stereo. Fireworks are going off on every street at all
hours of the night (they are especially popular after 4:00 am, apparently after the tequila runs out).
Musical Christmas lights are playing in every store and many homes. Noisemaking toys are in the clutches of every kid.
And the Acapulco Fair is going on outside my window until 2:00 am every night.
On non-holidays, it still seems like making noise is a favorite pasttime in Acapulco. The streets are filled with
people selling goods and services, each with his or her own distinctive noise or noisemaker - a clanking tin can for
the garbagemen, megaphones for orange sellers ("We've got oranges! Oranges! WE'VE GOT ORANGES!" ad nauseam), wrenches
banging on the sides of the gas truck (is that really a good idea?), and well-trained lungs in a variety of tones for most
others. I actually enjoy the latter and try to imitate them from my condo ("Corn! Tamales! I've got Ice Cream! Na, na,
na na na!").
The noise in Acapulco is not limited to humans. Mexican dogs, which are often kept on the roofs of homes (don't ask me
why), love to bark. At night. All through the night. I don't blame them. If someone stuck me on a roof all day and
night, I would try to make as many other people as miserable as I would be.
Okay, back to Christmas in Mexico. It's a great time. People spend Christmas Eve (which is considered to be
Christmas) with the extended family and enjoy elaborate meals (many pigs are consumed over Christmas). The cool thing
I noticed is that Christmas in Mexico feels more genuine and isn't nearly as commercialized as in the US. Hugs, instead
of presents, ruled the day.
This Issue's Random Expedition
Quite a few commercials (many from beer companies) are filmed in Acapulco, which creates the need for "extras".
I was "recruited" to be an extra in a Sol Beer commercial on the beach, along with 200 other extras.
The director required us to run in place for hours on the beach under the midday sun. It was grueling work, but I did
meet some interesting people, one of which claimed to be the ex-boxing champion of New Zealand (he might have been the
"brawling" champ of New Zealand - I am still checking his credentials). Apparently, being an extra is a big deal here
because they bussed in over 100 extras from Mexico City, 5 hours away.
New Years Eve in Acapulco
If you plan to spend New Years Eve in Acapulco, come with a lot of pesos. It is a very popular time of year in Acapulco,
so hotel rates, taxis, food, and drinks are all more expensive than normal (Economics 101).
Most bars and discos charge covers ranging from US$40 to US$100 to enter. Consequently, the streets in La Condesa are
packed with partygoers assembling informal parties reminiscent of tailgating at a football game. This New Years I decided
not to join the crowd at Palladium (but I was there for Mexico's Independence
Day on September 15), and instead hit La Condesa and stood under the bungy. I still felt like a sardine, but not as much
as I would have inside one of the clubs.
I guess we partied pretty hard, because the next day three
earthquakes hit the city.