Firstly, because they are terribly expensive and secondly, there’s a danger they may fall apart on the way. Residents of Acapulco excel at recycling which I’ll be telling about more than once. The so called standard includes Volkswagen Beetles which allegedly came to Acapulco in a big ship centuries ago. I don’t know to what extent it’s true but the fact is that Beetles can be seen at every street.
Acapulco and my first time in Beetle
I ticked off my first Beetle ride right after my arrival. After a 5-hour journey from Mexico City I dreamt of getting to the beach as soon as possible. I lost a map somewhere on the way so I didn’t really know where our apartment was. There were no bus stop in sight. At that time I didn’t know that it was a relative term and a bus would stop everywhere if you waved a hand. In order to save time I started asking taxi drivers about the price. Some of them were really out of the blue but we didn’t want to give up. My travelling companion Marzena and me decided that we could spend 40 pesos at maximum. Now we only have to find somebody who will agree on this price. After 15 minutes of looking around and for, we got accosted by one taxi driver.
-Hey girls, can you give 50 pesos? We don’t have that much.
-How about 48?
-We don’t have that much. We can spend only 40.
-Well then, I’ll take you there for 45. It’s very far.
Having been to Mexico for a longer time I already knew that when a taxi driver said that it wasn’t true. I turned my head to the other side and started looking around for a new taxi. Suddenly I felt a pull.
Well, fine. Let it be 40, but only because you are such pretty girls.
Taxi in Acapulco this is not the pinnacle of luxury
To my surprise, not only did Beetle have a broken window but it didn’t have any back seats as well. A dashboard was hanging on the last wire and there were numerous dents at sides. No seatbelts as well. I thought to myself that a guy had to be joking. There’s no way that rust-heap can move. I started having second thoughts when a man opened the door before me like a real gentleman and invited me in. I couldn’t believe I was doing it.
Not only did the car move but it also accelerated pretty well. Unfortunately I don’t know the speed we were driving at as a speedometer didn’t work. Somehow we got there.
On that day I simply thought we had a bad luck. But I found out only later that besides beetles there were also white taxis. They are more expensive and sometimes are equipped with a taximeter. They are the ones that wheedle tourists. Unfortunately, they are also falling to pieces as well.
Is there any alternative for taxi?
That’s why most residents take buses, which you can read about here, or the so called coche compartido or colectivo. In practice it’s similar to hitchhiking. A private person takes on their way other people and share travel expenses with them. In order to hitch such a ride, one has to stand at the edge of a street and show with their fingers how many people want to travel. If someone has a right number of seats, they will stop and ask where we want to go. Drivers themselves also shout at traffic lights where they are going and how many places they have. Besides, they accost passers-by using a horn or whistling. In the long term it’s quite annoying, but at the beginning it seemed even funny. You never know what kind of driver and companions you’ll get. Once I happened to travel from the other part of the city with an elderly lady, some girl and a transvestite with feathers on the head. A driver was driving so fast that I had to put my sunglasses on although it was already evening. There weren’t any windows in the car and my eyes hurt me from wind.
This form of travelling was usually a rescue at long-distance journeys when there weren’t any direct bus connections. The limit of passengers usually is an individual driver’s discretion. Some of them assume that they will take as many passengers as they can fit inside. It doesn’t matter how. One day our car was stopped by an elderly lady who didn’t see any problem in the fact that there were already three people sitting at the back couch in a little seat. A driver didn’t seem to mind two girls sitting in front as well. On the way he only kept apologising while changing gears.