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Leaving Mexico & Observations

*warning, this is a long post.*

We're in the trainyard waiting to go. The train was broken into 7 pieces to fit into this yard, so it's going to take a while to reassemble it. When the train is being put together/taken apart, the power goes on and off several times probably because it needs to be shut off to add other cars.

I can't wait to get back to the US, mostly because I miss digital conveniences :)
It's been so long since I've had a phone conversation! I'll probably spend a day just calling everyone. That and catching up on facebook!

This weekend was difficult for everyone...nine shows! Compared to a regular job, it's only 18 hours. But imagine being a strongman and having to lift a telephone pole with two people sitting on it, and spin it around, for five minutes three times a day for three days. Or the animal trainers, who have to make their animals perform the same tricks even though the animals may be tired or aggravated. (You could tell the horses were over it this weekend...there was a lot more kicking than usual.) Or the floor crew, who has to scrape elephant poop off the floor and move heavy set pieces around pretty much constantly. That's a lot of work! As for the band, we really did get 18 hours of playing in the past three days (now I know why circus musicians are called 'windjammers' haha).
Even if people don't get physically tired from the job, it can be psychologically tough to do the same show that many times in a row without time for R&R in between!

In other words, I'm totally impressed with everyone who works here and am awfully proud to be among people like this who buckle down and do their jobs with minimal complaints. We're pretty epic. :D

That goes for Feld as a company as well. They made life a lot easier this weekend by providing 1-2 meals every day via a hired catering company. In the mornings they sent two buses to the train to take people to work instead of one on the last run, knowing that many people would want to rest up and take the latest possible bus. And our next week in Corpus Christi is extremely light...only five shows in one week. I'm sure this was done on purpose, to give us a break :)
Also, on the last day of shows there was a sign posted on our message board asking performers to donate their pay-per-use Mexican cell phones to a veteran's organization. I think it's great to work for a company that can be charitable while looking after its own interests.

Speaking of logistics, there was so much involved in this trip to Mexico!! It was very impressive to see how it all went down. Caring for 300+ people and 50-some exotic animals is no easy task to begin with...bringing them all to a foreign country, protecting and feeding us was a whole 'nother feat!

A private security company was hired to protect us as we travelled between the US and Mexico. At first I didn't notice their presence. But after a few days of watching the scenery roll by, I noticed that every 5 miles or so there would be a person wearing a yellow shirt with a black eagle insignia, standing at an intersection or riding alongside the train in a white SUV. They travelled with the train through the night (I know, I stayed up one night and saw them off-roading in the desert alongside us) and went ahead of us to secure intersections and bridges. I imagine they'll be with us on this train run back to the States as well.

Feld also hired its own security for the venues (the venues in the states usually provide it). They were very professional, good people. We got to know the two standing near the bandstand pretty well, and took pictures with them before parting ways yesterday.

Each week, a 20,000 gallon tank of potable water was hooked up to our train so that we could cook, clean and wash as usual without worrying about getting sick.

A LOT of people got sick in Mexico City. I don't know exactly how many, but pretty much everyone in the band was ill for at least one day, and at one point half the clowns were out too. Parts of the show had to be modified due to illnesses or injuries. But everyone was treated promptly, and there were always paramedics backstage.

I don't know how they kept the animals entertained on this trip, but in Mexico City I saw the elephants throwing logs around and the horses getting washed every morning. They seemed to enjoy that a lot :)

Anyway, I wish I could tell you what Monterrey is like, but we didn't get a chance to see it! Lol. That's how it is sometimes. I do know that all of our shows were sold out!