As you see yourself, I once saw myself; as you see me now, you will be seen.
      Mexican Proverb


México is the most populous Spanish-
speaking country in the world. According to the latest statistics, México's total population is over 99 million. Mestizos, of Indian and Spanish blood), make up 60% of the population, followed by indigenous peoples  (30%), whites (9%), and other ethnic minorities  (1%).

Carnaval in Mazatlan

Visitors and locals scream, sing, shout and dance amid confetti and ribbons. Bands of all kinds play the infectious rhythms of the State of Sinaloa. And the food–oh, the food–camarones (shrimp) prepared in every way possible, washed down with ice cold Pacifico beer, for it’s Carnaval Time, Mazatlán’s biggest pachanga (fiesta). 
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March 12, 2006

Johnny Weissmuller's Acapulco
by Ron Butler


The waiters were already stacking chairs onto tables by the time we finished dinner and left to savor what was left of the velvety Acapulco night.

The filming of Mermaids more of less coincided with Acapulco’s Hollywood heyday when such stars as John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Richard Widmark, Errol Flynn, Red Skelton, Elizabeth Taylor and Lana Turner visited the resort every winter, adding panache and glamour to the scene.

Hotel Los Flamingos
Several of what became known as the "Hollywood gang," purchased a hotel, Los Flamingos, something of a condominium of its day. It wasn’t much, 25 rooms, but it afforded privacy, a hideaway. Weissmuller, who fell in love with Acapulco, constructed a pink round-house apartment next to the pool (Acapulco’s first) which offered a spectacular view of the ocean and of Roqueta Island where part of his movie was filmed.

The Hotel Los Flamingos, considerably expanded now. with a new dining room, is on Gran Via Tropical, in the Caleta area. Photos of the stars who stayed there are everywhere. Rooms start at $50 a night. Johnny Weissmuller’s round house can be rented but by special request only.

All didn’t go well for Weissmuler after Tarzan and the Mermaids. He wanted more money but producer Sol Lesser wouldn’t part with it. They split up. Enter Lex Barker, wearing Tarzan’s shorts.

Weissmuller's Decline
Weissmuller went on to make several Jungle Jim movies for Columbia, His film career ended in 1956 following a brief stint in television. A number of entrepreneurial projects didn’t pan out; his money evaporated. He had married five times. His third wife, Lupe Velez, the Mexican Spitfire, the most tempestuous of his unions, divorced him in 1938. She committed suicide six years later at 34.

In 1973, in the final ravages of fame that also befell actor George Raft and boxing great Joe Lewis, Weissmuller worked as a greeter at Caesar’’s Palace in Las Vegas.

A broken hip led to a series of illnesses and he went back to Acapulco to retire at his round-house in the Hotel Los Flamingos. He died in his sleep on January 20,1984, five months before his 80th birthday.

He was laid to rest at the Panteon de la Luz (Valley of the Light) cemetery outside of Acapulco. Former actor John Gavin, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico at the time, and Linda Christian were the only Hollywood notables in attendance.

Ron Butler is the author of Dancing Alone in Mexico, a travel narrative recently published by the University of Arizona Press. He lives in Tucson.

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