During my long second journey to Mexico, I thought nothing was able to surprise me. Meanwhile in Acapulco I understood the meaning of “what a mess”. Acapulco is not only heavenly beaches, five-star hotels, luxurious residences on cliffs, it’s also other world. Acapulco is a city lifestyle which I experienced far too good.
Everyone knows the song Acapulco
Life of bus driver in Acapulco it’s not easy
Most of you surely associate Acapulco with a song of a famous Italian band Ricchi E Poveri, namely with beautiful beaches, five-star hotels and the residences of such celebrities as George Cloney. And it is like this to a large extent, but I wouldn’t be myself if I hadn’t tasted a local lifestyle which is far from being luxurious. Let’s start with bus drivers because their life is really tough. Firstly, a soft chair is a luxury here. As a standard equipment they have a metal frame which sticks into their backs and in other places which I will not name out of courtesy. Secondly, if someone ever complained on not having a power steering or unclear dashboard, then they should take a ride in a local bus to understand how much wrong they were. Finally, the word “air-conditioning” has a lot of meanings in practice but none of them is even a bit close to what we know from everyday life.
In Acapulco air conditioning has many meanings
Practically, there are three types of buses in Acapulco: the so-called air-conditioned for 10 pesos, with dummy air-conditioning for 8 pesos and without any for 7 pesos. In the first case we can feel like kings of life. It’s cool inside and drops of water falling down on our shoulders from the installation above make us believe that this air-conditioning really works. In the second ones we can experience a breath of fumes from an open window because in the place of air-conditioning there is only a fan hanging on a few wires, it’s not that bad, however, when compared to a bus for 7 pesos where there is no trace of air-conditioning at all. Perhaps because it was never there. Despite all this, I travelled in these busses most frequently during my 5-day stay and by no means out of stinginess. These buses have their unique charm.
How to not love buses in Acapulco?
Have you ever happened to travel in a bus with a disco ball or loudspeakers? If yes, then you know what I mean. In Acapulco each of these buses looks like a disco on wheels. Each is colourfully painted. Each has its unique interiors and a different DJ as a driver. It gets even more charming owing to the lack of doors and windows. It’s one hell of a ride especially at curves. Let me only add that one is never too late to catch such a bus as there’s no such thing as a bus stop and it’s enough to wave your hand for a driver to stop everywhere. The same thing is with getting off. You only have to learn how to whistle, shout “parada” (a bus stop in Spanish) and jump out. Remember, our driver is in a hurry, so you either jump out or fall out. It’s impossible not to love buses in Acapulco. You prefer taxi? Click here.
During each ride you can feel like on a school trip because the buses I mentioned are American school buses which, after being withdrawn from service in the USA, found their second house in Mexico. With European standards, such buses wouldn’t have raison-d’ĕtre. Meanwhile, in Acapulco it’s the most popular means of transport, especially for the local people. Tourists, which I can’t understand, prefer to travel in those more expensive ones.
Traffic in Acapulco it’s kind of mess
What’s more interesting, colours and interiors tell us more about our driver who, probably, is a bus owner. The right to change a bus colour belongs only to the owners. In return for maintaining means of transport, they are exempt from fees for the city. The fact that bus stops are portable results from the fact that each Mexican city, including Acapulco, is terribly jammed, practically from morning till night. As a result, drivers are often made to change the rout and make detours. Streets have their own rules. A superior rule says there are no rules, you’re on your own. It’s of no surprise for me that 2 lanes may suddenly become 4 and an intersection may turn into a roundabout. In other words, what a mess.
It’s not an easy life for drivers who have to excel at operating a steering wheel, a brake and a horn all at the same time. Pedestrians have to operate in this chaos somehow as well since there’s no traffic lights. What surprised me, though, is that I had never seen any accident on a road, which may mean that Mexicans are quite good drivers. Driving in Europe must be for them like driving with automatic transmission for others.