From Old Home to New
Awakening the morning of our flight at an impossibly early hour, we had a friendly shuttle driver from the soulless airport hotel to the terminal's passenger dropoff. We humped our luggage onto two $5 carts up to the Alaska counter where the first word was that AeroMexico would only accept one bag each instead of the two that were sitting heavily at our feet. That sweaty contretemps taken care of without explanation, our flight into Guadalajara was uneventful.
Inmigración at GDL was a breeze! Upon seeing our temporary residence visas the engaging agent exclaimed, “We’ve been waiting for you!” Customs—which we had been dreading with our several hundred pounds of stuff in six hefty bags or boxes—was not bad at all. There were plentiful, free baggage carts, and only one other flight was doing its duty. We got the random green light to go through without inspection, and our driver was waiting with one of those he-must-be-important signs announcing my name.
The porters at GDL all wear uniforms that give them the prosperous and colorful appearance of a combination ranchero and mariachi. Ours was strong, friendly and had great teeth. He seemed pleased with my propina which was less than I paid to rent one baggage cart in the U S of A.
Our driver for the 40 miles (I’ve got to learn the metric equivalents) from the airport to our little village on the lake was not a talkative sort, but I did obtain some animation after I noticed him adjusting the little stuffed comic turtle on the dash. “Tortuga?” I questioned my translation. “Si,” he confirmed. “Cuál es su nombre?” “Tugy,” he answered with a smile; the turtle was his daughter’s.
|Happy crowds stroll, sit and gambol about the plaza every Sunday.|
We capped a grueling travel day with the ending we were looking for. There was a happy crowd in the plaza across the street from our funky little hotel. Portable loudspeakers vied for musical primacy. Vendors sold all manner of food and trinkets. From several directions we heard the televised sound of an important soccer match, with accompanying cheers. Couples danced around the gazebo to Latin brass, kids gamboled happily about the garden; families, old folks, gringos and locals sat or strolled and chatted and ate.