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!

Rosana

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Jan 22, 2006 — Yesterday Kelly and I took a taxi to the Guadalajara airport. We’d heard it was half an hour from the Lake Chapala area, and that’s exactly what it took us. We were going to meet a close friend, Peter Rice, our “teenage slave” when we were building our house in Colorado. He’s now 22 and a professional journalist in Oregon.

Peter had made his plane reservations to fly into Mexico City when we thought we would be in our rented house in Bernal, Queretaro, by now, but since we are still lakeside, he just added a round-trip ticket between Mexico City and Guadalajara to his itinerary.

He had already gone through customs and gotten his tourist visa when he arrived in Mexico City earlier in the day, so Kelly and I asked directions to the national arrivals area of the airport. When we walked down a wide corridor with nobody else on it, Kelly suspected something but I was oblivous till we were stopped by security people and told to stay behind a yellow line at the other end of the walkway.

The security arrangements were quite similar to the US airports. I had taken my camera along to get a picture for the blog, but there were signs up saying not to use cameras or videocameras. Passengers picked up their luggage before coming into the public area. Peter said that he’d gone through a line with metal detectors and x-ray machines in Mexico City before boarding the flight to Guadalajara.

The Guadalajara airport was surprisingly small for Mexico’s second largest city, with somewhere around five million inhabitants, but this airport was smaller than one you’d see in a lot of small American cities. There are several reasons for this: the excellent country-wide Mexican bus system means that much travel within the country takes place on the buses. Also, the Mexico City airport has long been the hub of the Mexican airline setup. When it began to be overwhelmed by traffic a decade or more ago, airports in other Mexican cities were expanded and improved, a process that is still going on today.

There were two arrival areas, one (NAC) for national arrivals and one (INT) for international arrivals. Almost all signs were in both English and Spanish. Since we had arrived a little early, we stood (there were fewer seats than you’d see in a US airport) and watched people coming out of the international arrival areas. Almost all were Mexicans being met by family or friends, with many hugs and much enthusiasm. We’d already noticed that the typical Mexican cheerfulness that we like so much was evident around the airport.

Peter eventually appeared and we came back to the Lake Chapala area in the same taxi. (Total cost, including the driver’s waiting, was $55 US. There are buses but they involve a long walk from the airport to the highway.) We took him out to a typical Mexican dinner, and strolled down to the edge of the lake at dusk. Here I could take a photo with no problem!

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