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We are finally leaving Mexico City!!

With all of the shows that we played, I didn't make time to visit other areas of Mexico City, and so what I experienced here was only a fraction of what this huge city has to offer.

Some things that were different from two years ago:
The area near the arena seemed a bit cleaner, and there was a stronger police presence. This may just be my imagination, but that's what I noticed. There were also far fewer people attending our shows. This was really disheartening. Feld doesn't get money from ticket sales here(?), but still...some nights we had to start the show with fewer than 100 people in the audience, and in a 22k arena that's just depressing. It's a big change from two years ago, when we had to delay the start time because so many people were on the arena floor taking pictures. I really hope that in the future, we'll find a way to advertise more or do what needs to be done to get butts in the seats, because it's a hard thing to do twelve shows a week for only a handful of people per night.

(photo courtesy Brett)

Some things that were the same were the houses and the general living conditions of the working class. Although many people here seem happy, it makes me feel sad to see families living in houses made of scraps with no doors, no clean water. As mentioned in the last post, stray animals are rampant. I have seen so many types of feral cats and dogs wandering the streets, and some lying sick or dead next to the road. I wonder if the Mexican government has any programs in place to at least begin to address the problems of potable water, sanitation, and animal control.

Anyway, although I personally didn't get out much, I think many people had a good time in Mexico City. We did a better job of taking care of ourselves this time around; fewer people got The Revenge, and I didn't see many people passing out either. We got through it! Great job everyone :)

I had been a bit under the weather on Sunday, so spent the Monday train run resting and taking pictures from my window.


This is kinda interesting, some walls use broken glass cemented to the top in place of barbed wire.

We arrived in Monterrey a bit early, but weren't spotted until around dinner time. We have come down significantly in altitude. Some of my bottles look squished due to the change.

In this yard we are in five cuts, meaning the train is split into six pieces.

Crew cutting the train at car 39:


I remember this yard well. It's a weird little square, part of an abandoned office complex.

We are surrounded by beautiful mountains.

Caught this poor little guy scrounging through our trash.

The generator car is left open so that it doesn't overheat.

On opening night we had a great crowd, a welcome change from Mexico City. The weekend was pretty uneventful, just another eight shows in three days. Audiences in general were far better here, larger and more enthusiastic. It made doing so many shows much easier :)
The arena, inside and out:


On the very last day, Alex and Irena got The Revenge :( They performed admirably despite it. Hopefully they can rest and recover back in America. Mike, our sub on trumpet, did a great job here in Mexico. This is one of the most difficult legs of our tour, and he handled everything professionally and covered the part like a boss. Thanks Mike!

As load out begins, we are all chomping at the bit to get back to the states. We'll have a day of travel to New Loredo, then customs super early on Tuesday morning. We expect to arrive in New Orleans on Thursday.

Other stuff:

Some photos from other peoples' adventures in Mexico. Ryan had dinner in a cave!

(photo courtesy Ryan)

Some folks had a harder time climbing the pyramids than others. Don't let go Raymond!
(photo courtesy Raymond)

Our lovely Spanish-speaking ringmaster saying goodbye to the band.
(photo courtesy Claudia)

The clowns, doing the real work as usual ;)
(photo courtesy Claudia)


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 19th, 2014 05:48 pm (UTC)
Your friends pictures are marvelous!

How interesting to see that engine. Poor doggie, he seems a little scary too. I never saw that trick with glass before either.

Can the people ever figure out what gave them the Revenge? Did you? Sounds like you nearly made it clear this time and you were so careful too!
Jun. 20th, 2014 06:52 am (UTC)
I loved your post. very interesting pics of real Mexico (crude reality there for humans n animals as well) You probably know by now why you dont have an audience in Mexico City...new law prohibits circus with animals if u dont comply im not sure if u guys will be allowed to perform there in the future. So even people who love the circus cant go to your shows since theyre afraid of a mob against circus attendees (and maybe thats why more police force). I know I know is a touchy subject and i see both sides of the story...so from those of us who like the circus: We wish u well in all your shows please dont do anything that could harm animals so u never get banned here in the states ;-) that would be sad. I see those beautiful animals have formed a bond with their trainers. Keep up the good work feeding n loving them.. and we'll see u next time you come to our city...
Jun. 20th, 2014 11:55 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading, anon.

I'd like to argue your assumption that the reason for poor crowds in Mexico City was ONLY due to the new law (which by the way will not be in effect until 2015). The Blue Unit had poor crowds last year as well, in May/June, before this law was even being publicly addressed. In addition, shows in Mexico are handled differently than in the states because Feld does not get revenue from ticket sales, therefore the show promotion is handled differently, possibly by another company. Did you see any ads for Ringling Brothers on TV, on the metro, or in grocery stores or other high traffic areas? Probably not. There was very, very little promotion for our show this year and last. And there was no "mob" at the arena. I walked to the Oxxo and the market every day before and between shows, and only saw protestors on ONE day out of a two week visit.

Also the police I mentioned wers not there for the circus. I'm talking about police I saw in the area near the arena, not AT or FOR the arena.

I'm not saying you're totally wrong. The possible new law probably had some effect on ticket sales. But judging by how few protestors we saw, and media Q&A (we had a preview exclusively for local press), I don't believe it can ALL be blamed on the POSSIBILITY of the law in question.

Thank you for giving your opinion and letting me share mine.

Edited at 2014-06-20 11:57 am (UTC)
Jun. 23rd, 2014 11:10 pm (UTC)
First let me wish the best to all of you working in the circus. I like your blog in general and was n still is not my intention to argue but im being realistic and candid n maybe a little informative cuz a lot of people i see dont know dynamics in Mexico. While there, youre right there was not as much advertising for the circus but there was a lottt!!!! of negative advertising against the circus on mexican tv n on the streets (which you probably missed staying only around the arena, I think that was probably hard to see) What i remember when there, is all the negative talk, news, abt all circus with animals (including Ringling Brothers) and politicians talking abt it plus lots of videos and a very well spread negative views of RBBB n Fuentes Gasca circus in social media. Plus in events like that to avoid problems there is more police force than usual in areas surrounding places for big events( like in the estadio azteca,Plaza de toros,palacio de los deportes,auditorio Nacional,arenas, etc). Activist had done their job in the city knowing the ban was abt to happen...so why bother if this was R.B.B.B.(with animals)last time there? Still they showed up at least once while R.BBB was there, plus theres other mexican circus they had to go to protest. Some relatives and friends in Mexico City trying to avoid trouble n mobs(in case one would form)said they would prefer not to attend the circus no more. In my case even though i could go, I had to wait a few days to go to the circus in Las Vegas to see Legends, and there just a handful of activist showed up. There's a lot more than 20million people living in Mexico City and metropolitan area so as positive as u want to be the very widespread discussion n eminent later aproval of the law (that btw will be in effect till next year)had already put in a lot of peoples mind it was better to stay away from the circus from now on...
Best wishes and you dont have to post my comments if u prefer. It's just my opinion... right or wrong its just my humble view and explanation of events and i know one day humankind will have the solution to all troubles with God's help and direction... in the mean time each one should decide what to think, do and even comment )... Have a great day :)
Jun. 30th, 2014 03:20 am (UTC)
Thank you for the information. I'm sorry if I was a bit rude; please understand that we are attacked in every city that we visit by people who don't know the first thing about animal care, and that sometimes makes us defensive. Apologies for that :/

I am responding mainly so that your comment is seen, because many circus folk read this blog and I think it is in their best interest to know some of the other reasons why we had small crowds.

By the way, from what I have heard, we will not be returning to Mexico.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )