Saturday, November 24, 2007

Acapulco, Mexico, Day 1 - Birthday

When we got to Acapulco on Thursday, she went into the port terminal, and found this black shawl ($10) to go along with her new dress. So, she may be finished shopping for this trip (I told her to wait... our last stop in Mexico is Cabo San Lucas aka "Flea Market by the Boat Dock"). In the Acapulco port terminal I found a yellow tank dress like the black one (only it was $16 in Acapulco) plus lots of stuff at the Del Sol store (stuff changes color when you take it out in the sun). After taking mother back to the ship, I went back onshore to see what shopping existed beyond the port.Of course, this is Mexico. Shopping? It seems like haggling is the national sport! I was approached many times by locals, followed down the street, even though I said I just wanted to walk along the beach sidewalk. I found a grocery store, where I could get a bottle of Diet Coke for less than $1 (it's $1.95 a can on the ship). As I walked out of the store, a young man walked up to me and told me he was hired by the government to take care of tourists, showed me his photo ID badge, wanted to practice his English, and wanted to take me to the government flea market. I wasn't sure if this was a scam, but I knew there were other people from the ship walking back, so I let him take me there.It was the usual collection of little shops with tourist trinkets, toys, and trash, plus silver and gold on the fringes. They wanted more for the dresses than either of the ones I had already purchased ("Hey lady, what you want to pay? Give me your price."). But I wanted to see their leather purses, since a zipper on my Italian purse had broken. So, after an hour wandering around (and not finding anything I liked in clothes), I went back to the big leather store and looked at more purses until I found the one I liked. It is like my Italian purse, only wider (hangs over one shoulder and across my front). It is also made from ram's hide, not cowhide, so it is softer. I almost didn't buy it, because he didn't want to take my credit card (he says he would have to pay 20% tax), but I didn't have enough cash on me. As I started to walk away, they offered to show me to a cash machine, but I wasn't going to fall for that one. So, I was willing to give him a little more than I intended, so that I could use my credit card. After all, I still have Cabo ahead of me!My little guide took me back to the main street where I could see the ship, and I gave him a $5 tip. After all, I was back safely, and don't think I was ripped off (he said I got a good price - $67). But it was still uncomfortable to be alone in that situation..

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