A Rough Start to a Great Tour

 

    With a week of the Living Legends tour done, I can see that my blog posts are not going to be very regular for the next little while. I’ll post when I get time to write, which isn’t very often.

   


          A week ago on Monday, we flew to Guadalajara in the morning. The group was supposed to arrive late that evening, so we had some time to ourselves. We decided to go back to Tlaquepaque, which we went to when we visited Guadalajara in December. That time, we ate at a cute restaurant we stumbled upon. This time, we asked the concierge at the hotel for his recommendation of the best restaurant in Tlaquepaque. We gave the name of the restaurant he recommended to our Uber driver, and when we arrived, it was the same restaurant we’d eaten at before! We enjoyed it then, so we decided to eat there again. Then we spent a lovely evening walking around the quaint plaza and streets. When we arrived back at our hotel, the only flaw in the day had been a taxi driver who kept telling us there was only one Hilton in Guadalajara and wouldn’t listen when we told him no, there was also a smaller “Curio by Hilton” where we were staying and it was at this address. He was certain we were mistaken and thought he knew where our hotel was, so when Ron tried to tell him to turn right, he turned left. Then he pulled up in front of a hotel which wasn’t ours. We had a hard time convincing him it was the wrong place. Finally, he listened to us and we made it back to our hotel.


     
   


        

   Right after that, things went way downhill. We got a message saying the Living Legends’ flight out of Salt Lake had been delayed three hours. They were supposed to catch a connecting flight to Guadalajara in Dallas, but when they arrived there, they found out it had left two minutes earlier! At that point, everyone on their team and everyone on ours started scrambling. Messages were flaying back and forth until late in the night. We went to bed hoping a miracle would take place by morning, but we were disappointed in that. If two people miss a connecting flight, it’s easy to reschedule them, but if forty people miss one, it’s not. They weren’t able to find any flights that could get all of them and their equipment to Guadalajara in time for the show. So the next morning Ron had the heartbreaking task of calling the Guadalajara planning committee to tell them the show would have to be cancelled. It felt like a kick in the gut and was a rough way to start things out. There were a lot of tears shed over it. The Living Legends group was able to find a flight to Queretaro, which is where their next show was scheduled, so Ron and I got on Living Legend’s fifty person bus with the bus driver and Luis, their tour guide, and went to Queretaro. We got there to welcome the group to Mexico. It was just us and Luis, not the big welcome Guadalajara had planned, but at least they made it to there!



 


              Since then we’ve had shows in Queretaro, Oaxaca, and Mexico City. They’ve all gone well, but they’ve all had their challenges. It’s interesting to be involved behind the scenes and know all the issues that arise, and to see all the little miracles that take place. It’s also amazing to see how a production like this is put on. On show days, we arrive at the venue about six hours before the show so the tech people can work on lights and sound and the performers can get a feel for the stage. Ron and I are on hand to take care of whatever issue arises, and issues usually do. Most frequently, we have to go find water for the group. One of my favorite things is how the performers organize their costume changes, which are many and fast. They each have a chair in the wings off the stage on which they stack their costumes in order they use them. The girls all wear flesh toned body suits and the boys shorts. Then when they exit the stage, they throw off the old costume and pull on the next one, right there in the wings.

Living Legends singing a song to say thank you to the lovely people in Queretaro who prepared food for them.

Ron and I with Marypaz and Teancum following the Queretaro show. She is in the Native American section and he's in the Polynesian section, and they are married!

            

A group of missionaries who helped with the ushering in Queretaro


  The day after the show in Queretaro, the group had an outreach event with a local high school/college, which trains teachers. Living Legends met with the college level students and taught them a few simple dances they could teach their students. Then they put on a mini show for all the whole student body.

              


Following that, they went to San Miguel de Allende, but we didn’t go with them. Instead Ron had arranged for us to visit Sylvester and his family again in Los Bordos, a little community about ten miles outside of Queretaro. Sylvester’s wife, Juanita, fixed us a lovely dinner, and we got to eat with their whole family. We had a great time visiting, and I even understood about half the conversation. After dinner, Sylvester took us for a walk around Los Bordos and pointed a few things out to us. He was elected to be a representative for the community, so he went to the government and got them to put in street lights and the pipes for a sewer system. There’s nothing to hook those pipes up to yet, but when there is, they’re ready. He also got them to pave some of the dirt roads and put in a park with a playground beside the school. We were so impressed!

Juanita, cooking tortillas on the grill. She makes them herself from corn she grinds. They were delicious!

     

Sylvester's beautiful front yard
     
Juanita showing us their baby chicks
      
the sunset over Los Bordos

   


           
The next day we headed to Oaxaca. Ron and I missed our flight, thanks to two wrecks on the freeway and an Uber driver who took us to terminal 1 even though we told him three times we needed to go to terminal 2. We were booked on a flight two hours later. That morning, Jamie, the Director of Living Legends, asked if we had a fireside that night in Oaxaca. We told her no, the fireside was Sunday, and that evening was free. However, as we were sitting on our plane, waiting to taxi out to take off, Ron realized we did have something that evening. Marcela, our local communications director in Oaxaca had told him the Young Adults had planned ad activity with some games and songs. It was one of those little miracles that he remembered it right then. So as our plane was taxiing out, Ron was frantically making calls and sending texts to the group. We found out the Living Legends flight had been delayed and they were in the air right then. Then Ron’s phone range. At this point they had announced to put all phones in airplane mode, but the call was from Marcela, and Ron had to take it to tell her we were delayed, but on our way. He shut off his phone just as the plane was ready to take off. We were tired at that point and wished we could just skip the activity that evening, but when we arrived at the church, we found that they had planned a fiesta to end all fiestas to welcome us there. It wasn't just the Young Adults, they had families there too. They had a band, costumes, dancing, and food, food, food! We partied until midnight, and had a great time! 



     


     

Little Sammy, who stole my muffin and my heart.


The Living Legends and the Young Adults in Oaxaca


 

Me at the show in Oaxaca wearing big earrings
and standing next to Samuel, who was a
huge help there

 

  I had one very tender experience at the party. Most of the women were wearing the lovely embroidered native dresses the region is known for. I complimented one woman on her dress and then complimented the handcrafted earrings her daughter (who looked to be late teens or early twenties) was wearing. As the party was ending, the girl came up to me and took my hand. I thought she was going just telling me good-bye, but then she put the earrings in my hand. I said, no I couldn’t take her earrings, but she and her mother insisted. I was so touched, but felt bad taking the girls earrings, so asked Michelle, our public relations director what I should do. She said, “Accept then graciously and wear them tomorrow.” As a missionary, I’m supposed to be fairly conservative in my dress and accessories, but the next night, I wore big red earrings to the show!


Our show in Oaxaca was held a the Auditorio Guelaguetza which is world famous for a folk dance festival which is held there each July
      
Although it is covered, the Auditorio Guelaguetza is an open air theater. One little miracle we had was that the strong winds and storm which were brewing in the afternoon, calmed right as the show was ready to start and stayed calm until the show was over. Then they hit again.

      


        
Another blow we had at the beginning of the tour was that we lost our venue for Mexico City--for the third time. At that point I wasn’t sure we’d be able to have a show there, but Alfredo got right on it. In just a few days, he was able to line up a theater. Ironically, it was a theater Ron and I looked at in December, but at that time we wanted to schedule it for a Saturday and it was booked. Later our schedule was changed so now we needed it for a Tuesday, which did work. However, tickets went on sale four days before the show, and I wasn’t sure how big of a crowd we’d get. I said, “Lord, it’s in your hands. This is your show, so we’ll do what we can, but if you want people to know about it, you’ve got to help the word get around.” Well, yesterday we had a 5:00 and a 7:00 show in Mexico City. The early show was about three quarters full, and the second had hardly an empty seat. With all the trouble we’ve had getting a venue in Mexico City, the fact that we had a show at all is a miracle, let alone getting such a good turnout. We and the Wrights bought tickets for all the staff at Teca Once and their families, and all of them came—except for the newest employee who had to man the front desk at the hotel. In my last blog, I told you about Rox. We got her tickets too, and she came with a friend. So it was a fun evening for us.

               One of our jobs is to greet people as they enter the venues and point out the QR code for the program. People tend to stop and show us their seat number and ask where it is. I’m getting good at communicating with a few key phrases in Spanish and a lot of hand gestures.

 


          The Mexico City performances began with two dances from the School of Ballet Folclorico de Amalia Hernandez. This is kind of like the Julliard of dance in Mexico, so it was a real honor to hace them agree to participate with us. Michelle is a former dancer and has ties to the school, so she was able to set it up. The following day, the Living Legends group had a workshop with some students and a teacher at that school.
Michelle, wishing she could be out there dancing too!    

                  


                We’re in our apartment in Mexico City right now but leave tomorrow for the next leg of the tour. We’re having a great time and can’t believe this is really our mission! As they say, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. We’ve glad it’s us.

Comments

  1. It sounds like you had an incredibly hectic yet wonderful and rewarding time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amazing Experiences you guys are having! How fun!

    ReplyDelete

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