A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


Visit Expedia…

Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

I was very pleased to win an award for this blog! Even better for you: click through for lists of all sorts of award-winning travel blogs.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

June 7, 2006 — Kelly’s mother, age 86, died in her sleep. We got the phone call one day this week and were on our way the next morning at dawn.

Kelly and I got picked up by a taxi at our house in San Juan Cosala at six. We used an Ajijic cab driver who was recommended by friends who had used him for early-morning airport runs. Since getting another cab at that hour wouldn’t necessarily have been possible, the referral was desirable.

Our driver was from Ajijic, though he had worked for seven years in the US. He likes it better in Mexico, and has a positive attitude about life here. He does think all politicians are corrupt, though, and was quite surprised when I said that in the US, if a policeman stops you for a traffic offense, you do not typically slip him any money when you hand him your driver’s license.

It was still pitch black as we climbed up through the hills near Lake Chapala. We could make out the outlines of the lake according to where there were no electric lights. Soon all that was behind us, and we drove to the airport in a light rain. The rainy season does seem to be getting a good start, and since we left, friends have emailed us that things are getting greener.

Kelly and I had been to the Guadalajara airport once before, when we met a friend arriving from Mexico City one afternoon. But it was a much busier place now, in the early morning light. Numerous flights leave for the US and different parts of Mexico in the 8am-9am time frame especially. For international flights, you are supposed to be there two hours early.

We each had a suitcase with clothing, a computer case, and a third thing — my big purse, his camera bag. There were porters racing around everywhere at curbside, and we engaged one. There was no set fee. We were flying on Mexicana but our tickets were booked through Aeromexico, so he took us to their check-in. As we had gotten e-tickets from Orbitz (which worked just like in the US), all we had with us to prove we were ticketed was a computer printout, clutched in my hand. The porter took it and gave it to a young woman in an airline-style uniform. She walked briskly away, and Kelly, porter, and I lost track of her for a disquieting minute or so. We found her and she pleasantly gave me the paper, explaining that we needed to check in at Mexicana. So we went over there. Their security people had a conversation with Kelly and me about whether we needed to check any bags, and decided they could let us through but the people upstairs might not. We got boarding passes and were told to take the elevator upstairs.

Before we did that, we had a form to fill out for leaving the country. Nobody ever stamped our FM3s but almost accidentally someone did collect these forms, leaving us with copies. I left Kelly with most of our luggage and went to check out the newsstand. For reading in English, it had a small selection of magazines and books. Then I went to the ladies’ room. The toilets were all automatic flush and not a one of the had any paper.

We went through security and took an escalator. Once upstairs in the passengers-only area, things were more spread out. There were quite a few restaurants, newsstands, duty-free shops, and so on. I got a snack at Starbucks, and Kelly at another place.

We found the waiting area for our flight. Our destination was southern Idaho, and we were flying to Las Vegas and there changing planes to Salt Lake City, where we would catch a ride with a nephew and his family. I was interested that the bulk of the travelers on this first leg were Mexicans or Mexican-Americans. I chatted with two different Mexican women. One was going to see her son who lives in Nevada. I asked if she had had any problems getting a visa to the US and she said it had been difficult. The other woman was a Mexican who lives near Las Vegas. She would rather be in Mexico but her teenage son wants to become a doctor, and she felt the opportunities were better if they lived in the US. I agreed that he’d have better English most likely.

It was okay for us to take all our luggage with us, despite signs saying it was strictly forbidden. As we walked out of the terminal to take a bus to the airplane out on the tarmac, I was picked for a random security check. All of my bags were completely examined, I was patted down, the whole bit, all done in a very friendly manner.

Our flight was smooth and easy, 3 hours and 15 minutes to Las Vegas. Once there, we cleared customs with no problems except for it taking a while. We stepped out into over-100 heat and no signs for how to get to the terminal we needed. We tried to catch inter-terminal buses but they wouldn’t stop where we were, and there were no taxis right there either. So we walked, luckily with a luggage cart we had picked up. When we checked in, there was no way we could take all our bags on the plane with us, so we checked our suitcases. They told us we had to rush to make our flight, so we dashed through the vast halls till reaching security. This time Kelly got the full check. We made our flight with just enough time to buy an ice cream en route.

It was interesting to be back in the US. Our mad dash almost seemed like a metaphor for life here. People were helpful here too, though with less of the warmth we are used to from Mexico. Twelve hours after we’d left our home in Mexico, we arrived at our destination, the family home in Idaho. There is still something magical to me about going from one place to another in a matter or hours!

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