Sometime in the early 1970’s, my first wife and I attended a Lions Club convention in Mexico. We were accompanied by her parents, Jim and Eleanor Kammerer, and a number of other couples from the Beechview Lions Club. My father-in-law was the one who got me interested in joining the Lions Club and we attended a number of conventions together.
The Lions Clubs of the Pittsburgh area had arranged a tour, which started in Acapulco. We spent three or four days enjoying one of Mexico’s most famous resorts prior to moving on to the convention in Mexico City.
On the evening of our arrival, we were invited to attend a welcoming party on the veranda adjoining our hotel. They served a wonderfully refreshing beverage made with pineapple juice and a few other ingredients. We later learned that those other ingredients included a liberal amount of rum and creme de menthe.
Sometime later that evening I was trying to answer nature’s call when I stumbled upon a number of hotel employees celebrating the end of their work day. They directed me to the necessary room. Upon returning, I struck up a conversation with the men. I must admit that their English was far superior to my Spanish, but we hit it off and were having a very nice conversation when they invited me to have a shot of Teguila. They instructed me on the finer points of the ritual – squeezing the lime, getting the salt on my hand and taking the drink.
Tracy Byrd sings a song about having shots of Jose Cuervo. The punch line of the song is based on Tracy’s losing track of the number of shots he has had. Having been there, I can easily identify with his cloudy memory. I’m sure the earlier glasses of that wonderfully refreshing beverage didn’t help.
The next morning I joked about how fortunate it was that I did not have to drive back to the hotel. I simply had to crawl to the elevator and hope to press the correct button.
The next few days in Acapulco were a whirlwind of taking a yacht ride to an island for a tropical lunch, going on a glass-bottomed boat to see the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, attending a Roman Catholic Mass that included a first Communion ceremony as well as an elderly lady’s confession.
To this day, I’m left wondering what she had done. She looked to be about eighty and was crying like a baby. There was no confessional booth. She was sitting on one side of a screen and the priest on the other… out in the open as the worshipers walked by.
The grand finale of our time in Acapulco was a bus trip to a restaurant overlooking the cliffs used by the world famous cliff divers. I had hoped to find a video of a man making a dive. Not only did I find such a video on You Tube, I found one that perfectly fits the experience.
Let me forewarn you, this video is very graphic and realistic. We were probably sitting in the same restaurant from which this video was shot. We were looking down at the diver who seemed to take forever to take the leap. The man we saw spent quite a bit of time praying at the shrine seen in the background. Finally, he took his place and… well you can see for yourself.
Yes. He finally jumped into the water. The person who filmed this experience was obviously growing impatient as he waited, and waited, and waited. As soon as the diver hit the water, we were told the show was over and it was time to leave… so the next group could be seated.
Hopefully the video gave you some idea of the height of the cliff. It was a long way down to the water, and from where we were sitting, it was a long way down to the top of the cliff from which the man dived. So you can imagine our surprise when, as we were leaving the restaurant, a soaking wet man in a swim suit was standing there with an extended hand asking, “How much you like my dive, Senor?”
At the time, I guessed that this man may have been one of the cliff divers, but not the one we had just seen. Looking back, I realize there were a number of establishments lining the cliffs. I wouldn’t be at all surprised that the diver had cloned himself and was standing at the exit of multiple locations asking the same question.
It was a once in a lifetime experience, and if I ever return to Acapulco, it is one I will gladly bypass. You can see the action much better on the Wide World of Sports.
How much you like my story, Senor? Feel free to leave a comment. I’ll gladly accept any and all ‘tips’. Muchas gracias.