Leaving behind the peace and poverty of the countryside, we headed into modern-day Acapulco, a hive of activity and soaring condo buildings, planning to have a leisurely visit to the city’s largest marketplace followed by a drive through the old part of town.
But no. As soon as we approached the center of town we were caught in a colossal traffic jam,
actually the worst one I have ever seen. If we moved more than a mile in one hour I’d be astounded. It did, however, give us more than ample time to observe many of Acapulco’s over 4000 VW Beetle taxis,
as well as what was to me the sorry sight of myriad American standards like McDonalds, Walmart, and Costco. So much for Mexican independence.
Finally we arrived at the market
where we were the only gringos in sight. In fact, there didn’t seem to be any customers either, which I attribute to the fact that we were there at an odd mid-afternoon hour. It’s a vast foodie playground
with all sorts of prepared foods for a complete meal if you wish,
although they are sitting out unrefrigerated, for the strong of stomach.
On the fresh food side, there was everything you could ask for, including melons, papayas,
fish, including huachinango, or red snapper, which seems to be the most popular local fish,
and fresh meats, here displayed next to our guide Manolo. As you see, none of the poultry or meat is refrigerated either.
There were household sundries,
staples like chiles, beans, and posole,
buckets of different types of prepared mole, which I was dying to try to smuggle home,
as well as chiles and piloncillo for those planning to make their own mole at home.
We saw huge and fragrant bundles of dried herbs for tea,
and there was a section of lovely fresh flowers
in fancy and festive arrangements.
There was even a small area with supplies for the Day of the Dead, a day to honor your ancestors.
All in all it was a delightful step back in time, even though time ran out for us to see the old part of the city,
and all too soon we were sailing away from Acapulco and on our way to Huatulco. This business of having only one day in a place is frustrating and tantalizing, but definitely better than not seeing it at all. After spending such a long time in one town in France that we were on a first name basis with the butcher and the baker, it’s quite a shock to just mill around briefly like a
typical tourist, but that too is an experience, and we’re having it.