Eddson is sitting on the edge of the pool, leaving the huge tattoo across his back in the sun: "Family." He recorded it about five years ago, when his friend was shot dead and he saw his father and sister in the cemetery, destroyed; the mother was gone, cancer took her. "Then I knew that family was the most important thing, what I wanted." He turns around and looks forward to his partner, Valeria: "We are expecting a baby." Well, they have chosen the perfect place, the Princess hotel, in the Diamante area of Acapulco, one of those artificial paradises for families where there used to be pirates of the Pacific.
The very young couple found the room sealed, as if murder had been committed inside. The sticker that joined the two leaves of the door informed the guest that he was entering a sanitized area against the pandemic. Also the television remote? And the air conditioning buttons? Every table, every chair? Circulating that famous ultraviolet light with which they swept hotel rooms and discovered, like CSI detectives , traces of semen everywhere. They might as well come up with something like that for the coronavirus.
- A vacation in the new normal | 1 Ibiza
- A vacation in the new normal | 2 Marbella
- A vacation in the new normal | 3 Paris
- A vacation in the new normal | 4 Benicàssim
On the nightstands you do not expect chocolate or sweets, but a disinfectant kit with a small bottle of gel, antibacterial gauze and cigarette paper masks. Room service comes covered up to the eyebrows. The hood on the plate also has the paper tape that guarantees total asepsis, as when cleaning the toilet bowl. The cups are covered with plastic wrap. When Eddson hands over his card for a bath towel, the manager points him to a tank with sanitizer to put there. No one should touch anything.
Tourists keep coming and queuing at the reception. One registered, the receptionist rings the bell and an employee arrives with the spray and kilos of paper to clean the counter before the next one passes, like on a conveyor belt. Each one is given the bracelet that guarantees a happy world. Aldous Huxley was an apprentice.
The world has become a very boring and predictable place. From Ibiza to Acapulco, the routine is the same. The physical distance between people, hydroalcoholic gel, mask. This pandemic already sucks. Where to go that is different? This planet is no longer suitable for vacations. How right they were. Better to stay home.
Acapulco. Its name alone evokes glamor, endless nights, sex, drugs, absolute madness, yellow butterflies, rainbow hummingbirds, the sea and the mountains, the beaches and the blue pools. That is a vacation. Acapulco was rotten by bullets, extortion and child prostitution and the saltpeter has taken over some hotels where the Sha, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Ava Gardner, the Kennedys, Chavela Vargas, Cantinflas and hundreds of ellipsis were held. . Tarzan spent his last days at the Flamingos, supposedly screaming as if swinging between lianas. And there are still those who believe that the ghost of Johnny Weissmüller wanders through this hotel with pink walls that climbs the mountain among jungle vegetation. Below, hundreds of meters below, the sea. Flamingos languish with their fossilized coconuts and rust on the balconies. Only the pandemic was missing.
"Remember Acapulco, beautiful Maria, Maria of the soul", Agustín Lara sang to the Doña, María Félix. Acapulco has even more past than future. "And that present, damn it!", Says the Acapulco writer Brenda Ríos, who serves as a cicerone. But that can change. Carlos Slim, the Mexican magnate of Lebanese origin has put his hand on the pearl of the Pacific and these days the Boca Chica hotel was receiving a coat of paint. The billionaire has already bought some palaces in the country's capital and saved them from ruin. Who knows if it will restore Acapulco's lost splendor. Where the king goes the nobles move, if you allow a monarchical metaphor. Boca Chica has regained its fame thanks to the series La casa de las flores . In one of its chapters, some drugged young people perform a surreal choreography in the pool. It was the seventies. Last week, the Government withdrew a tourist campaign that showed an Acapulco "without rules." They did not like so much relaxation of customs in pandemic times.
Eddson and Valeria go down to breakfast with their masks on. In the elevator they play four corners, each client on top of a mark stuck on the floor. Downstairs, next to swans and flamingos, families line up until a table is released, spaced these days so as not to mix their breaths. There's a line for eggs, a line for the buffet, a line for everything. In the pool, an artificial waterfall, like a pirate movie, hides the bar, which is now closed and forces waiters to make heavy trips with trays on their shoulders loaded with piña colada, beers and colored juices. Salvador is having the stickiest heat while cooling his customers. Holidays this year will be a bit disgusting, but hell is for those who work in those conditions. And that Eddson and Valeria have chosen the Diamond area of Acapulco, where you can still smell the posh. Placido Domingo has his house very close to there, where he recovered from the covid.
What nobody knows is that on the other side of the great bay, in La Caletilla, there is no pandemic! The area where the Hollywood black and white gang once soaked is now the most humble. Who said virus. There the musicians sing at the top of their lungs over the diners, the waiters smile when they are asked to lift their masks and the water looks like a duck farm. Those who sell oysters, fruit cocktails, those who offer tattoos and massages, anyone who knows how to shout a merchandise pass by, and the tables are close together. The tourist complains that the waiter does not put on the mask, and the waiter complains that the tourist does not want to put it on. "One word from God and this would be over," complains a lady under a tree. But we are all sinners and so there is no way, it is interpreted badly under the mask of flowers.
Under the chlorinated water of the pool and only under water, the holidays are complete. There are no infantile tantrums, the sun does not burn, the mouths are closed, but free and the asepsis is complete. Eddson and Valeria swim in complete happiness.