We left Mexico City at daybreak, just as the sun was turning the sky red and orange. It would be a long drive to Acapulco, 250 miles that took us up over a 9700 summit. From Mexico City to Iguala we were on a rather new toll road. It was well maintained and wide. From Iguala on the road was again narrow and winding. Until we started down the ocean side of the mountain range it was drizzly and foggy.
When we finally arrived in Acapulco at 8:30 p.m. it was already dark so we pulled into the first trailer park we could find. We could see the sign but there were so many bushes and vines growing around and over the driveway we almost missed the entrance. It was spooky looking as we drove through the gate and greenery into the park.
"Do we have to stay here Dad," asked Gil as he looked out the back window.
The park was really small.  It only had 15 narrow spaces. Making it look even smaller was the fact that is was wedged between two old buildings that looked like the only thing holding them up were the plants growing up their walls. The “Proprietor” charged us extra for just having an air conditioner. It didn’t matter whether we were going to use it or not. Pay or leave. You can believe we USED it.
First thing in the morning we started out to look for another place to stay.
Luck was with us; we found a MAGNIFICENT park a little ways north of town at Pie de la Cuesta. This is a strip of land set between the Pacific Ocean and a fresh water lagoon named Laguna de Coyuca.  On one side lush tropical growth and tall coconut palms surrounded the lagoon. Water hyacinths floated everywhere on the water.  On the other side of the park was white sand and blue ocean.
There weren’t any pull-through lots but the spaces were roomy. Bill backed the camper in until the rear bumper touched the low wall that separated us from the sandy shore of the lagoon. There was plenty of room to take the trailer off and park it in front of us. We settled in for a long stay.

Even before we could unpack Randy wrapped his arms and legs around one of the three verrrry tall coconut palms that grew right next to us and shimmied up it like a native. He just had to cut down some coconuts and try to whack the shell off like we’d seen the little (about 5 or 6 years old) Mexican boys do. They hold the coconut in their left hand, slice off a chunk with one quick blow of the machete, throw it into the air to turn it, catch it, chop again, throw again. It looks so easy when they do it. It seemed to me that Randy’s hand was in more danger of loosing a hunk then the coconut’s shell was. I couldn’t watch so I went inside to started straightening up. Figured if he cut a finger off someone would tell me. I could hear John Mc and Bill egging him on. When he finally finished he had a few hunks of ragged coconut and a pile of mush with shell on the ground in front of him. The milk from the coconut had long since scattered into the wind. But I didn’t see any blood!

For a couple days we just relaxed. Warming up from Mexico City and cleaning up the rest of our hootchy-cootchy mess. As we opened the trunks on the roof we discovered that they had leaked during the rain so we had to take everything out to dry. Again a local woman came by to pick up laundry. She was dressed in a short tight, navy skirt, white cotton blouse and ever-present apron. She carried the laundry wrapped in a bundle on her head. One brown arm rose to hold the bundle, the other held the hand of a semi-naked toddler. A bright red shawl that was tied over her chest held a baby snugly on her back. Other families came by with big baskets of eggs, wood, and fresh produce. Sometimes the mother had the basket on her head, other times the baskets were carried by the children.
The campground had a small store where we could buy essentials like milk and bread. On the beach there were thatch huts with vendors selling all kinds of neat stuff. Gill couldn't resist a set of bongos.
Off the trailer came the motorcycle and all the bikes. Randy and John Mc spent a lot of time on the motorcycle exploring. The younger ones on their bikes rode all over camp and down to the beach.
The white sand beach was broad and the ocean blue and warm. We could hear the crashing breakers from the motorhome. The sunsets were spectacular. As the sun dipped into the water the sky changed from blue to pink, to orange, red, and purple. Every night the spectacle was dazzling and spellbinding.
Behind us the thick green growth around the lagoon reminded me of Tarzan movies. Giant trees grew along the shore their roots and branches reaching out into the water. Tall palm trees swayed in the wind and birdcalls were constant. We glimpsed colorful parrots flying from tree to tree. I was positive I saw and heard monkeys.
Small rivers meandered from the lagoon back into the groves of trees and disappeared into the darkness of the dense foliage Many times the boys paddled across in the inflatable-raft and explored for hours on end. They would disappear under the trees and eventually come out again half way around the lagoon. This is truly a kid's paradise. 
At night Bill and I sat outside and watched lights bobbing on the water and listened to the calls of fisherman as they cast their nets in the still water of the black lagoon.

The first night we were there John, Paul, and Gil wanted to sleep on the sand next to the lagoon so we let them. Come morning I went out to check on them and couldn’t help laughing at what I saw. The combination of their nylon sleeping bags and the plastic tarp they were on caused them to slowly slide down the narrow sloping beach. Another couple of inches and they would have been in the water.  They only slept there once.
John Mc broke his glasses so we all went into Acapulco with him to get them repaired. Instead of driving the motorhome we though it would be easier to take the bus.
The busses came by the campground about once an hour and stopped in front of the little store. We had been waiting a little over a half-hour when on the road from town we saw a cloud of dust heading towards us.  The cloud made a U-turn and a bus creaked to a stop in front of us. It was an old cross country bus that had been painted and repainted with vivid colors until I couldn’t be sure what color it was supposed to be. All the windows and the door were open. As soon as it stopped we piled in. There were a lot of people already on it so again we couldn’t sit together. Randy and Paul went about half way back. Bill, Gil, and I a found a couple of seats a few rows behind them. John Mc sat with John in the back. We settled into the hot, hard metal seats. With a grinding of gears the bus started to move, immediately producing a cloud of dust that came through the open windows and settled on everyone. I ducked my head and stuck my nose in my blouse so I could breath and tried to get comfortable for the 8-mile ride into town.  A couple of minutes down the road we made another stop for passengers. Just one man boarded. He wore a beat up straw cowboy hat pulled down low to shade his eyes; a cigarette dangled from his mouth and slung over his shoulder was an old guitar. The driver nodded at him and started to chuckle as the man walked back into the bus.  Just as he neared the seat where Randy and Paul were sitting he pushed his hat back, put one foot up on their seat, brought his guitar around front and rested it on his knee and strummed a very loud cord.  I thought Paul and Randy were going to jump out of their seats they were so startled. This was only the beginning. I guess he fancied himself a great singer because he started to sing at the top of his voice. All the time his cigarette stuck to his lower lip. The combination of the loud guitar and the piercing sound coming from his mouth was enough to claim everyone’s attention. Especially his captive audience, Randy and Paul. Every quarter mile or so the bus would stop to let passengers get on or off.  This did not interrupt his playing and singing.  A couple of times the would-be passengers would poke their heads in see him, back out and wave the driver on. Just before we reached town he stopped, moved his guitar around to his back, took the cigarette from his mouth and crushed it on the floor under his toe. This taken care of he then took his hat in his hand and passed it around. Everyone put pesos in it. Anything to make him stop and get off. Smiling and waving to everyone he left he bus at the next stop.

First order of business we found an optometrist for John Mc. He left his glasses with the doctor and we roamed around while they were being fixed.

After the refreshing weather at the lagoon it felt really hot and humid in the city of Acapulco.
This section of Mexico was called "The Riviera of the West" we understood why. The steep sides of green mountains reached down to the beautiful blue bay.  There were flowers growing everywhere, even in the sand. The hotels were large and expensive looking; restaurants (especially fish ones), and stores catering to tourists were thick along the beach.
We turned inland away from the coast and the contrast was appalling. Two blocks in from the waterfront was a shantytown, wood shacks and cardboard huts huddled along dirt streets.  There were skinny mangy looking dogs lying in the sun. When they saw us they would slowly get to their feet and tails wagging come begging for food. There was garbage in every vacant lot and fires either for cooking or burning refuse everywhere. Babies were playing in the dirt while older children watched them. Young men lounged up against trees and the sides of buildings glaring at us as we walked by. We didn't go very far this way; we could tell we weren’t welcome. This is the part of town the average tourist didn't see.

Back down at the beach we watched a rickety, flower bedecked carriage pulled by a shinny black horse plod up and down the main street. His bit and reins were wound with flowers too. The driver sat erect in his high seat, his long whip held straight up. A smiling, swimsuit-clad couple waved at their friends as they went bouncing by.  It seems that wherever there are tourists there are horse carriages to pull them. 
We continued to stroll past shops that sold everything from imported perfume to tacos. In the quiet waters of the harbor the pristine white cruise ship Fairwind sat. It looked so regal in contrast to the discolored fishing boats that passed by it on their way in and out of the harbor. At the main dock were glass bottom boats that the tourists could charter and go out on to see the colorful tropical fish that swam in the harbor.  Each boat was painted a different combination of bright colors. And each seemed to be owned by a different person. The “captains” wore cut off pants and open shirts that were tied at the waist. They called out to everyone who passed. “Venga, venga” come ride with me. “My boat is the best!” “ You will see more fish from it.”  One by one they filled up and glided out into the calm blue bay.
Continuing waves of pale skinned tourists roamed the sidewalks and sand. Most were trying to get a tan before they had to go back home. Some shopped, others just stretched out on the beach drinking their margaritas and frying in the sun.
"Mom, look at her," John poked me and pointed to the shore. We stopped to watch as a very large, middle-aged woman in a small, pink sun suit and sandals was strapped into a harness that was attached by a rope to a speedboat. After much fussing and rearranging she was ready. All alone on the sand, she leaned back into the harness her arms in front of her holding tight to the rope. The crew jumped back into the boat. Suddenly the sleek red, white and green speedboat its engines revving shot away from the beach. The rope drew tight, forcing her to take a few wobbly, running steps. Her plump arms flapped as the rope pulled out of her hands, then without warning she was air borne. She let out a whoop; whether it was from fright or glee we couldn't tell. She managed to grab the rope again and drew her legs up in front of her as she went higher and higher. Her less brave friends on the ground waved and took another sip of their drinks. Some people will try anything. Maybe it’s the tequila, or the sun. Actually it looked kind of fun.
We just walked and looked. For seven of us it was just too expensive to do many things.  We picked up some magazines in English, some candy and bread then walked back to the optometrist to pick up John’s glasses. When we got there the shop was closed, the doctor had gone home for siesta! "Will return at 3:30," the sign said. It was already 4:10. With a don't fight it join it attitude we went back down to the beach to buy ice cream.  When we got back to the shop at 4:30 it was open and his glasses were repaired.

Back to the bus stop for the trip home. The bus we caught this time was a little newer and even had brown plastic cushions on the seats. And we found seats together. Two stops outside of town three men wearing black felt cowboy hats, white shirts, bolo ties and tight black flared pants and holding guitars got on. Before the bus was moving they were playing and singing. Paul rolled his eyes and stuck his fingers in his ears. Randy and John got up and moved to the very back were they ended up sitting next to a young woman with a basket full of melons on her lap. She lowered her eyes, smiled modestly at them and shifted closer to the window.
Maybe the singing was entertainment for the tourists. The only problem with that was we were the only tourists on the bus. A couple of the riders joined in on a few songs. These guys were pretty good. After they passed the hat and got off it was a very quiet ride to the end of the line, our stop.
On our fifth day there Bill said it was time to pack up, load the trailer and get ready to move on. Early the next morning, February 15th, we started back towards Mexico City.

Wonderful days spent on the beach in Acapulco

Acapulco Camp

Acapulco Camp

Acapulco Beach

Acapulco Beach

Asleep on Sand

Asleep on Sand

Lagoon

Lagoon