Memories of Acapulco

In a recent post, I included a link to an Elvis Presley video from the movie “Fun in Acapulco” (1963). That made me think of the only time I have ever been in that Mexican port (click here for sound of harp music, indicating a flashback to the twentieth century) …

It was during the last quarter of the last millennium (i.e., late 1970s), when the city and port of Acapulco, in the Mexican state of Guerrero, still had much of the lustre and popularity from its golden decades (1940s through the 1960s) as the beach resort of choice for many Hollywood stars and millionaires. My sister had rented a house for a week with some of her friends, and one of them was bringing her two younger sisters, so my sister invited me, as well.  I was just a young teenager, and all I wanted was to tan under the sun (yes, this is the 20th century, remember?) and make sand castles, as pictured* at the top of the post (right) with one of the other youngsters on the trip.

My sister and her friends were fine with that, during the day that is, but at night, they wanted to dress up and cause a maelstrom at the disco. Acapulco’s own “Studio 52” (a homage to the now infamous Studio 54 in NYC) was a popular discotheque at the time; since some of us were minors, we had to use extra make-up and borrow clothes from the older girls to look more mature and get in. The finest disco music (possible oxymoron? hehe) was playing loudly, and an excited ambience was palpable; the teenagers did not drink any alcohol, and I remember it as just being a fun time, dancing for the first time under a giant disco ball …

Enjoying seafood and tropical fruit beverages while in Acapulco was a must, as well as bringing home a selection of sweets, with tamarind and coconut as mainstay ingredients.

It is rather unfortunate that in recent years, Acapulco has become a very dangerous place for tourists and locals alike, so the best way for me to reminisce is to cook at home, inspired by its regional food (for example, try my picaditas or my pozole verde), and look at those photos from more innocent and resilient times, with a heartfelt thank you to my dear sister for inviting me to tag along on this adventure.

In my next posts, I will be sharing recipes for traditional tamarind and coconut Mexican sweets.

* Fun Fact:  The photo in this post was taken with one of those low-cost 110 film cameras that were the latest in still photography for pocket cameras at the time. The small negative size of 110 film made enlarged prints often grainy (as it is obviously the case here.)  I was surprised to learn that companies like Cannon and Minolta actually manufactured high quality cameras for this format, though, and that 110 film is still being produced, used, and processed, particularly for lomography, which is “… branded as being a spontaneous, candid view on photography,” and “typical lomography cameras are deliberately low-fidelity and of simple construction.”  The name comes from the Soviet-era optics manufacturer LOMO (Leningradskoye Optiko-Mekhanicheskoye Obyedinenie, or Leningrad Optics and Mechanics Association); they released a camera based on Japanese technology that produced pictures with unique colour and often blurry, back in the 1980s.  The term was coined in the early nineties, by a group of Austrian students interested in the images produced by that camera, now central to lomography.  What you know, my sister was trying lomography before it was even invented!

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