On Monday night, the cast and I reached city of Tepic. We were greeted by a local drumming performance that had been organized just for us. The performance was held in a mall. Several hundred people, excited to see Vila La Gente return to Mexico, came to see our arrival. The cast and I were given costumes and our new attire helped our host families locate us in the crowd. Our trip to Tepic included a six-hour ferry ride and eight hours on the bus. Personally, I was exhausted, but a good host family has a way of waking me up.
We spent Tuesday working at a sea turtle hatchery. The beaches within driving distance of Tepic are very popular to tourists and have many resorts. The turtle hatchery occupies a section of beach that can not be purchased by developers. Hatchery workers say that only 3% of the turtles make it to the sea, so the work of the hatchery is very beneficial to the local sea turtle population. Half of our cast was given the opportunity to pull hundreds of newborns out of the sand while the rest of the cast helped clean out old nests and clear the beach for "turtle departure day." The turtles that are fresh from the sand are out of their nests, but are motionless because they are still in a sleep-like state. The babies are taken from the earth at this point so that they can all be collected. It does not heart the turtle to take it from the earth before its biological clock tells it to emerge, so the workers place the little turtles in a large baby pools. The animals slowly wake and are kept cool and moist as they are monitored. The turtles are given time to build their strength and are then released.
Wednesday was all about people! Viva La Gente took part in a large culture fair that was held in the same park as our Tepic performance. Local colleges and Viva La Gente sponsors set up booths with educational activities that called visitors together through cultural trades and traditions.
On Thursday, the band and I performed in our first BTS - our backing track show. The BTS is promotional and normally performed a day or two before the official Viva La Gente show of the week. These promotional shows are our main source of ticket sales and help educate the public about our arrival. That night my host sisters took me to a local Mexican hang out. Everyone insisted on hearing English music hits, so I got to perform!!!
Show day in Tepic was fantastic. Our stage was underneath a large decorative sound sheet that eventually protected our equipment from a small amount of rainfall that delayed the second half of the show. Our show in Tepic has been our best. Our audience was fantastic and demanded more. Performing an encore after a two-hour show is quite an exhilarating experience. The only people that enjoy our performances more than our audience is the cast. The energy of a great show really sticks with us and really intensifies the attitude of the group. On Monday, September 8 we are departing for Culiacan and will perform a BTS and a full show on Thursday and on Friday.