The Acapulco Insider, Issue #06: "The Rainy Season"

The rainy season in Acapulco is typically from May to October. The first year I was here, it hardly rained at all. But this year, perhaps because of all the hurricane activity in the Caribbean, Acapulco got its fair share of rain as well. We didn't get hit by any hurricanes like Cancun did, but it seemed to rain almost every day, especially in the evenings, which wrecked more than a few planned excursions to the open air clubs along La Condesa.

Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain  

If you read our forum, you might have already heard about my trip to Madrid, Spain. I was planning to be there for at least 3 months, but I missed Mexico so much that I made a hasty retreat back here in a month. It's hard to describe exactly why people miss Acapulco and keep coming back, but there is something about the city that just makes you feel good, or maybe free, or young. I also realized that I am much more of a Mexican than a Spaniard. Livin La Vida Loca, yes indeed, Sr. Martin.

It was nothing against Spain or Spaniards - Madrid is very clean, cosmopolitan, and has beautiful architecture and museums - but I just feel like I can be myself here in Mexico. It is going to be very hard thinking of somewhere else to settle down outside of Latin America.

Immigration Tips

Now that I have been to the immigration office a few times and have had my share of pleasant and frustrating experiences, I should share a few tips for making your trip there as brief and painless as possible. I am no expert on immigration matters, however, some basic rules of thumb are to bring the following with you (for something simple like a 90 day extension of your tourist permit): your passport, tourist card, a credit card, your bank account #, and a piece of paper with your local address. You should also arrive as early as possible (9:00 am... they are only open until 1:00 pm) and if possible, go on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday and preferably when it is raining (hard).

I also noticed some recent improvements in the service - they now have two desks set up with a full-time administrator who will personally help you through the process. I was in and out in around 90 minutes, and it would have been 45 minutes were it not for my paperwork sitting on the director's desk awaiting the final stamp of approval for the other 45 minutes. Work permits and residency are a lot more complicated, so be sure to leave plenty of time (weeks or more) to survive those ordeals.

Christmas Festivities

Like in many countries, Christmas preparations start early in Mexico. In early December they have the lighting of the big Christmas tree in front of the convention center. I snapped a photo this year from my building's terrace. What you cannot see in the photo are a massive crowd of people filling the streets and (fortunately) the advertisements for Coca-Cola plastered all over the tree. They also have a Christmas parade all along La Costera, which brings out even more people. And the supermarkets have all kinds of Christmas goodies that you usually cannot find at other times of the year. Even with temperatures still in the 90's, it is starting to feel like Christmas in Acapulco. If you are coming here for New Years, it would be a good idea to start making your plans ASAP.

  Lighting of the Christmas Tree

This Issue's Random Expedition

I finally got around to taking a personal defense course, so if you were thinking about beating me up, sticking me with a knife, or shooting me from close range, you lost your chance. But seriously, I can summarize 90% of the defenses in a few words, "kick them in the huevos." The course would have been more fun if the instructor hadn't been an autocratic sadist, but I learned a few things and lost a few pounds. Most importantly, just keep the peace. Tranquilo.