Anyone visiting Acapulco will have gone to see the divers jumping off Quebrada. As they told me while I was there, divers who jumped from the top of the cliff—more than thirty meters—must calculate the moment when the waves rise with the currents, because if not, the water isn’t deep enough. and their jumps would hit the rocks at the bottom. There were very few people in Quebrada that day because a tropical storm had swept over Acapulco—I think they called it Hernán—and the water was very cloudy and choppy. “It’s a day like hell,” said a man passing by. Yet a very young boy jumped off the cliff into the water. Tourists were supposed to pay him something for his “cooperation”. Since there were so few of us, I don’t think that boy managed to collect more than 100 pesos from that time: something like half a dollar, maybe less.
Roberto Bolaño has a story of a father and son living in Mexico City who are going to spend a few days on vacation in Acapulco – the best for me. Father and son own a 1970 Ford Mustang. Father was a boxer in his youth. The son spends his life reading a book about surrealist poets. It is soon discovered that father and son are the young Bolaño and his father, who lived in Mexico in the mid-1970s. Once in Acapulco, father and son love all tourists and go to Quebrada to see the jumps from Quebrada. cliff. There, from the point of view, by chance, they meet a former diver who begins to accompany them everywhere. Two or three days later, the three of them – father, son and diver – finally drink tequila and play cards with two strangers in a small brothel. Gradually, the atmosphere becomes more sultry and the gaze more blurred as father plays cards and son drinks tequila. And naturally, there comes a time when everything tells us that father and son will have a very hard time getting out of there alive. The story is called Last Sunsets on Earth, and it’s very good—for me, the best of Bolaño—though I’ve already said that.
I remember that story of Bolaño, when he saw the Dutch tourist jump off the cliff of Malgrats islet, he crashed into rocks and drowned. What a sad story and even more so when we know that the tourist’s wife filmed him from a boat and his son watched his father jump with him. What a sad story, I repeat. But one thing caught my attention: the cliff of Malgrats islet was a sloping wall with a very uneven surface that did not allow a clean fall into the water. In contrast, the cliff face of La Quebrada in Acapulco is a smooth, almost vertical wall without many irregularities and no obvious slopes. How did the Dutch tourist come up with the idea that he could jump into the water from such a dangerous cliff? And how is it possible that no one warned him of the danger? Has anyone tried to discourage you from jumping into the water? Didn’t anyone notice the roughness of the cliff and the rocks at the bottom? Nobody asked you to come back?
I know it’s very easy to talk quietly from home – and I know the conditions are very different when you’re on a cliff, and even more so if you know it’s being filmed from a boat – but it looks like we have it. I forgot all that meant danger and common sense. Those of us who were born on an island used to be very suspicious when we went into the sea -»la mar fa forat i tapa»- because we have all heard very sad stories of accidents and drownings. This is why we were all accustomed to looking for rocks hidden at a shallow depth or for currents or eddies that could drag us along. However, it seems that this common memory of the dangers of the sea, which is passed from father to son and serves as a warning to us when we enter the water, is completely forgotten or no longer concerns anyone. . Looking at the cliffs of Malgrats, from which the Dutch tourist jumped, it is clear that everything is ready for misfortune: the steep slope that prevents a clean jump, the steep wall full of obstacles, the rocks on the shore. Everything, according to Bolaño’s story, showed that if someone insisted on jumping from there, something bad would happen. . The last sunsets on earth. What a sad story.