If you ever watched ABC’s Wide World of Sports as a child in the 1970s, you would have regularly watched the cliff divers of Acapulco. Set at an narrow inlet near Acapulco, divers soar off the cliffs into “La Quebrada”, a rocky ravine swirling with crazy currents. As a child, this always scared the bejesus out of me. What if they missed? Holy Mother of God!
Speaking of Her, several shrines are erected to Our Lady of Gaudalupe near where the clavadistas take their position. The men, brown as nuts from the constant sun, pay their respects to Her before “flinging” themselves off the cliffs, as Keith Jackson used to say. (I miss Keith and Jim McKay). It is my understanding that this profession is passed down from generation to generation, the same families passing on the secrets, guts, and love of sport. I don’t know who dreamed up the crazy activity but it had to have been a dare – the thrill of victory!
When I saw La Quebrada in person in 1998, sitting at the restaurant perched on the rocks above the gulch at sunset, it was even more scary. The divers have to carefully gauge when to jump so as not to get smashed by the waves into the rocks. What’s more, they have to clamber up the rocks to one of two diving platforms (the highest of which is at 80 feet). With the price of admission to the restaurant for the shaded viewing, one also received a complimentary cocktail. I asked for Kahlua and cream.
“Lo siento, pero no hay.”
“Come es possible que no hay Kahlua?”
The waiter just shrugged.
Kahlua, after beer and tequila, is the third national beverage of Mexico. To not have Kahlua at a Mexican restaurant – and one serving touristas at that – was sacrilege.
Instead, a can of warm Tecate was plonked down in front of me. Oh, the agony of defeat.
In the end, I was able to cross something off my bucket list. I would go back and watch it all over again in a heartbeat. It is not often that you see an actual leap of faith.
Herewith concludes Day 21. Click here to watch a video of the divers.