An L.A stopover

We arrived in LAX after a 12 hour flight from Auckland, so far so good. Using the Koru Lounge in Auckland airport was a nice luxurious start to the trip (won’t be much of that where we are headed). The flight was easy with no turbulence, screaming children or travel sickness and I think we both had a reasonable amount of sleep for a night in an aeroplane.

Descending to Los Angeles was an experience. neither of us had been to America so the sprawl of the city was massive. We passed through immigration unexpectedly quickly, with no bag searching or delays which surprised us both. The only issue being that we approached the passport desk together and were promptly told off because we were not related or married; naughty us! With 14 hours ahead we picked up our packs from the baggage claim and looked around us at the terminal, there was no way we were going to spend 14 hours here.

Exploring the terminal we located a information desk and asked about the day rooms at hotels, we were pointed in the direction of a free shuttle and took off to have a nap in a real bed. 

Waking after a few hours nap we went out to stretch out legs and get some fresh (?) air. Our check out time was 8 pm so we had time for some dinner before getting the shuttle back to the Airport, we decided on Denny’s because hey we were in America. The food was acceptable, cheap and had the requisite deep fried element for American cuisine.

Finally we could check into our flight, this is about the time where we started to realise that we weren’t home any more. The check in queue had very few english speaking people lined up and the airline staff were also speaking Spanish…uh oh. A lovely staff member of Volaris gave us our arrival cards and told us (in English) that they needed completed before immigration in Guadalajara. The arrive cards were completely in Spanish, cue Google Translate!

Sitting in the departure lounge we filled out the cards by taking a photo on the app and getting it to translate each section. After doing this we unsuccessfully tried to get a seat near one of the limited power-points so we could charge the phone/tablet. When our boarding time drew near we moved to the seating near our gate, after sitting and talking for a few minutes two girls a similar age to us struck up conversation. Turns out they were from Melbourne and about to spend a couple of months in Mexico with their first stop also being Guadalajara.

The flight was uneventful the exception being the time, it took a little under three hours and was scheduled at 1 am. We arrived in Guadalajara at 5 am with virtually no sleep. The lines for immigration were huge, I have never seen anything like it before. The line was slow but we had no issues getting through. The next step was to collect our packs and pass through the next check point. One by one we needed to push a button which would determine whether we would get our bags checked or not. Two green lights later we were out into Guadalajara.

Our Aussie friends from the departure lounge found us and asked how we were getting to our hostel, as they were deciding between a taxi or local bus. We decided on strength in numbers and adventure choosing the public bus.

The public bus was definitely the cheaper option at $6 Peso each. We climbed aboard and sat with our packs squished on our knee cutting off the circulation to our feet. At each stop the bus became more and more full, people could board through the front or rear door. The fare of the passengers who boarded at the back of the bus would get passed person by person to the driver who would then send change back the same way. Very honest system from what we could tell.

Once we arrived at the old bus terminal near Centro we had to find a way to our hostel. We said thanks and goodbye to our friends and decided on a taxi. It wasn’t a huge distance but we had no map and no local sim card for our phone to work yet, so taxi it was.

Overall this was a overwhelming experience but we made it in one piece, I’m sure we will have many transit periods in the future.

– Lauren


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