Mexico Part III - 4 Performances, 3.5 Horns in 48 hours...

***I've had the blogger site opened on my computer for a couple of days now...I should be much further than this but I just haven't found the will...I talked with Shay and Shawna the other day and I think we are all a little depressed that this is all over  - for now at least.  The weather here in Chicago is oppressing(heat) and I always seem to find something else to do than sit and write...but alas the blogging world calls and so I am going to answer...here is Mexico part III.***

I left you last with me headed off to warm up for the two shows we had that day at the Auditorium National.  It's huge.  It was the largest venue and crowd that we played for and let me tell you that all four shows were packed! The venue was right across the street from the hotel but again we were highly recommended to take our bus over to the venue.  I guess a week before we arrived a violinist in one of the many orchestra's that rehearse and perform there was killed as they left the stage door.  Some people still walked but with having to carry my horn, and my bag and my wardrobe I found it just easier to take the air conditioned bus.  As we pulled into the concert hall (this was a concert hall unlike all the other places we played were arena's) we saw the same little tents going up all over the square, families getting ready to sell their illegal merchandise and we were all getting a little excited to see what new shirts and stickers we'd be able to pick up at break;) Walking into the venue was really nice this time because this time it was not an arena but an actual concert hall. Granted a LARGE concert hall, I heard it hold 10,000 people...I think we averaged about 9,000 people for each of the four shows we did in Mexico City.  The nice thing about this being a hall was that we were sitting on a real stage, and had "normal" dressing rooms, complete with make up mirrors ;) It also held  complete shrine to the Virgin Mary right off of stage right...there were probably a hundred candles lit in front of the shrine and I was a little paranoid that we'd all go up in flames...but we didn't.  The first show went as usual.  It was cool to see all the glow in the dark items people had bought out in the street and since there were 9,000 people there it really was striking to see from the stage. 

After the first show it was becoming clear that many members of the orchestra were not just run down but becoming down right sick...Montezuma's revenge was slowly but surely moving swiftly through the orchestra.  At break we had our normal catering though this time it was with the entire crew and then many of us ran out to the vendors to see what treasures we'd find here! It was funny because at this point there were 9,000 people coming to the evening show and 9,000 people leaving the afternoon show.  Packed doesn't even come close to describing the amount of people walking thru the little tents.  I bumped into several people and on more than one occasion people noticed me...ME...hilarious!! One woman did a triple take...she just kept staring at me and pointing until I smiled and mimed that yes it was me on the huge screen! She then pointed to her camera and her family and asked if I would take photos with them all...I did...it was extremely flattering to be treated like that and most of us who left the arena to shop ran into many people who recognized us from the giant screen! Some of the SWIC members even facebook friended the fans!!

Back on stage for the second show things were going from bad to worse.  Several members were really not feeling well sidelined with either stomach problems or breathing issues since Mexico City is at a higher elevation than most of us are used to.  The onsite medic's seemed pretty busy doling out Imodium and hooking everyone up to the oxygen tanks! But things for the horn section got exciting when halfway through the first half of the evening show it was apparent one of our own was going down.  As the crowd screemed in approval after the Imperial March and the orchestra was getting ready for our intermission Peter leaned down to warn us that Ros was not feeling good and we should let her off stage first.  We did and it was a good thing...I think she said she barely made it to the managaments office before she lost her lunch...the rest of that evening was much of a blurr as when the lights went out for the second half I was being ushered quickly into Ros' third horn seat and began to rifle through the book looking for anything exposed or that I wasn't familiar with.  By the end of the show the orchestra was down several players.  One by one members of the orchestra were hitting the floor...I'm not kidding...the harpist was laying down on the floor to try and keep it together!  We (the horns) made it through the performance pretty much unscathed and Tim, Peter and I were pretty much on a high by the end of it.  Playing Assistant Horn is an interesting and often thankless job.  You get all the hard stuff with out much of the glory.  I often feel like an outsider when playing the part of the Ass.  But playing third I felt great, like I was apart of the section and it was just so much fun to play WITH Tim instead for him!  We all thought by Sunday things would blow over and the horn section would be complete so Peter and I made plans to hit up the Anthorpology Museum before the matinee, taking advantage of their free admission offer.  When 9 am came Sunday morning I was starting to not feel so hot...with much trepidation I called Peter..."Peter, I don't know if I can leave my room"  "Mary Jo I can't leave my bathroom" he answered...done..."See you at the show" "yep"....Oh Lord please let Ros be better because Peter and I seemingly were going down!

After a few hours of sleep I woke up hungry and wanting to shop (duh!).  It was our last day in Mexico and I really wanted to buy some pottery before we left.  With everyone in bed under the weather I called my buddy Chris to go out.  We tried going to a "fast" food place but after sitting for 8 minutes with no one coming by we left...we just didn't feel like taking our chances with the "Latin Time" when we were on a time crunch again! So we hit up Starbucks and I twisted Chris' arm to come with me to this little artisan shop we had heard about from several other SWIC members. Let me tell you Chris' complained the whole time I dragged him to that shop but in the end it was HIM who wasn't just quite ready to go! He had found the mother load of gift ideas and was taking full advantage of this one stop shop.  The shop was in a courtyard nestled behind some main streets of the city.  It had room on room of just cool stuff! pottery, jewelry, kitchenwares, place mats, etc... I bought some jewelry, a tortilla holder, and some natural weaved coasters and these really cool little gourd boxes.  Though I was wary about what I ate and when, and I felt pretty good heading over to the concert...until I heard that that Ros was NOT coming back for any of the shows...ugh...no time to think...at this point I felt my stomach adjust itself and knew that I had to keep it together...especially because Peter was almost out for the count...probably one of the funniest things that happened was when the 2nd and 3rd trumpet players who sit in front of Ros and now me, continually leaned over to talked each other, therefore blocking my view of Dirk the conductor.  "Hey guys?" I asked... "could you not do that today, I can't see" I forget what exactly Mark said back but it was a typical trumpet funny answer...but seeing as Peter was having to play with his butt cheek clenched I just answered back "Hey, we are trying not to shit ourselves back here so any help you could give us would be awesome!" ...  probably not the best thing to say because we all started laughing so hard it almost sent things in various directions!  We got through both shows, kudos to the whole horn section for working as a team and downing the chewable Imodium on a time schedule.  I never got as bad as Peter but I was nervous it would.  What really sucked is that that was the last concerts for the first session people.  As we all left that night and were given our flight out info most people in the orchestra were extremely excited to be going back to the US.  Myself included.  Though the coming week would prove to be more trying for me personally.

The next morning we had just enough time to hit up the artisan shop one last time.  Tim needed to get his mom a gift and I of course can always shop.  This trip I got a cute purse and more jewelry...now to jam it into my one bag I was allowed to bring into Mexico before we got to the airport! In the lobby of the hotel everyone started to line up...passing Shay's luggage scale around...hopeful since we were on a charter we wouldn't be charged for being over weight...unfortunately that wasn't the case and many members were charge $150 US dollars for their bags being over 50lbs...I heard a rumor that they were eventually reimbursed by the company but still! That's alot of dough!  A collective sigh could be heard when we took off out of Mexico City.  The people of Mexico were so nice. Taking pictures with fans, signing autographs...becoming facebook friends with concert goers...where else in the world would that happen? Not in the US!  I can say that there was not a more appreciative crowd for the whole tour than those people we met in Monterrey and Mexico City.  If the security issues ever decrease you can bet I will go back there.

Our daysheet posted on HUGE paper in the lobby of the hotel.


Awesome bed and decor!


View from my room!


Courtyard outside the Artisan shop.

Front of the Artisan shop.
 
 Getting some culture on the tour, chamber music during break, see video below!

 SWIC String players playing chamber music on break.  Just lovely!

Shrine to the Virgin Mary on stage right.


Auditorium Nacional



Video of the merchants setting up outside the venue.



Christopher travels in style.


LA we're home!!



Shows to date: 26
Number of hotels stayed to date: 17
Best hotel to date: Omni Hotel, Ft. Worth TX (Intercontinetal Hotel in Monterrey had the best view!)
Miles traveled to date: 7,677

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