Sunday, July 5, 2009

On a horse (written 7-6-09, posted 7-16-09)

Note: This post should have been posted early in the morning on Monday, July 6 when I was still in Argentina. Events mentioned as occurring "today" occurred on Sunday, July 5. But the internet at the hotel went down before I had published it. Here it is as it should have been, although I am now posting it on July 16. In a few weeks I will put up a final tour post or so with more videos and pictures.
The tango show I mentioned in the last post was pretty cool. I´ll post some videos from it later. Now it is really late at night on Sunday, July 5 or early in the morning on Monday.
My cold is getting better now. So that is nice.
After the tango show on Friday, we rode the buses back to the hotel. On the bus, Yair (our conductor) made an announcement to us. Because of the swine flu, the government decided to close all publicly run universities, concert halls, etc. Our concert was supposed to occur in a law school. So our concert for the next day (Saturday) was cancelled. Yair also said that out of the many tours he had been on with the orchestra, he thought this one was the best.

So we didn´t have our big concert in Buenos Aires on Saturday. We will still be having our performance tomorrow (Monday) though before we leave. It will be in a very poor neighborhood in the city--a concert like the one we did earlier in Mendoza. We have driven past this neighborhood a couple of times already, and it is very poor. Some of the houses don´t even have walls.

Today we went to a ranch called Estancia Santa Susanna about an hour away from Buenos Aires. They had horses there and carriages to ride in. Then we ate lunch there and watched the people there and do tango dancing. Then we watched the gauchos (cowboys) do a contest. I´ll explain more and post pictures later.

Here is a picture of me riding a horse. I rode twice, on two different horses. This is the second time. It is a little scary at first.

We had our farewell dinner today. The tour company that is running the Argentinan portion of our tour made a video compilation of this part of the tour. It was pretty cool. There are a few shots of me in the video. One of them made people laugh. :) They will add more things to the video from Sunday and Monday and then send it to those people who order it. I´ll be getting a copy.

This will probably be my last post from Argentina. I will be getting to San Francisco (flying through Dallas) at 10:30 on Tuesday morning. And I will arrive home a few hours later. I will update the blog again on Tuesday or Wednesday with more pictures and videos from the tour. So make sure you come back.

The orchestra is coming back in two groups--one through Dallas and one through Miami. Those of us going through Dallas will leave the airport near Buenos Aires at about 9:30 on Monday evening (5:30 pm California time). We will arrive in San Francisco 17 hours later.

Until my next post,


Friday, July 3, 2009

In Buenos Aires 7-3-09


We got to Buenos Aires today, Friday. Now it is 7.37 pm. We got here a little before 3. The bus ride was almost 4 hours. Some people have had a cold. And now I have it. I slept for a little while after we got here. Now I am in the lobby and we are about to leave to go to a tango show for dinner. It should be interesting. I´ll try to post some more stuff tonight or tomorrow.

Hasta luego.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

More from the last few days in South America 7-2-09 (Thursday)

Hello everyone! Currently we are in Rosario, Chile. First, here are a few videos from the last week that I haven´t posted yet.

This video was taken outside of the cathedral I showed in my earlier post. It shows the Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile. It, like the other video, is from last Friday, June 26.

This next video was taken from the same location. You will hear the bells from the cathedral playing the Ode to Joy which you may know as the hymn ¨Joyful, Joyful we Adore Thee¨ or as the main theme of the last movement of Beethoven´s Symphony No. 9. Contrary to what I say in the video, I think the 12 bells for 12 o´clock actually sounded later on after the song and after the video.

The following video was taken the next day (Saturday, June 27, 2009) during the flight from Santiago, Chile to Mendoza, Argentina that I described in my last post. The only passengers on the flight (Sky Airlines) were people with our group. You can see the Andes Mountains in the video. Although this was the shortest leg of our trip in distance, we flew, apparently because of the mountains.

This video explains itself for the most part. It was taken during the dinner following our concert in Mendoza on Monday, June 28. Dinner tends to be later here than it is in the U.S. So the video was taken around midnight that night. I believe our concert had been at 8:30 that evening. The restaurant was an all-you-can-eat buffet. We went to another restaurant that belonged to the same chain the next day in Cordoba.

This video was taken on Monday, June 29 in the hotel in Cordoba.

I´ll post more pictures from these places a little later. Right now it is late at night on the evening of July 1 (or morning of July 2). We left Cordoba this morning and arrived in Rosario, Argentina early this evening. The bus ride was shorter than the one from Mendoza to Cordoba that I described in the video. It was about six hours of driving plus time for lunch. The land along the route we drove was quite flat--very different from the places most of us are used to--probably more like the Great Plains. We went to a restaurant for dinner a little while after we got here. The hotel rooms are probably some of the nicest we´ve had yet. The rooms themselves are definitely the biggest so far. And the elevators are old-fashioned. The have an actually door that you open to get in and a gate-type door you slide closed inside the elevator. I´ll post pictures and videos later. Tomorrow we have a tour of Rosario. Then we have a lot of free time before our rehearsal and concert in the evening. The concert is at 9:00 pm. So we´ll have another late (by U.S. standards) dinner afterwards. The next day (Friday) we´ll drive to our final tour location, Buenos Aires. We are getting farther from the Andes and closer to the ocean.
Talk to you later.


Here is a picture of most of the orchestra members. It was taken in Mendoza, Argentina on Sunday at a monument. I am third from the right near the back in the dark green jacket. The people in Orange in the front of the group are the people from the local company who are running the Argentina portion of our tour.
Click directly on the picture to see a much larger version of it; click on the back button when you are done.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Update from South America 6-28-09

Hello blog readers! The video below shows a church in Santiago, Chile next to la Plaza de Armas. The video was taken yesterday (6-27)--our last full day in Chile. My narration starts a little way into the video, so keep watching.

Later in the day we flew from Santiago to Mendoza, Argentina, a city with a population of several million. The flight was scheduled to be a little less than an hour long. We flew in a (apparently regularaly scheduled) flight on Sky Airlines in a Boeing 737. The ochestra and managers and those travelling with us were the only passengers on the flight. We arrived at 12 something this morning. We also turned our clocks ahead one more hour. So we are now four hours ahead of PDT.

Today we played a concert in a poor area of the city. There were armed policemen near the place since it was not a very good part of town. Some of them carried what were either rifles or shotguns, so they were more armed than most American police officers. They walked with us back to the buses after the concert. I got a picture of me with two of the policemen. I´ll post it later.

The concert was in a gymnasium building. We played mostly shorter pieces, such as our encores. Several smaller groups from the orchestra also performed chamber music. We concluded the concert with ¨Stars and Stripes Forever.¨ The audience was not extremely large, but about the right size for they venue. And they showed a lot of enthusiasm.

Talk to you later.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

In Santiago, Chile with SJYS (6-24-09)

Today SJYS got to Santiago, Chile. We flew through Dallas and arrived here around 8 am or so. When we were on the plane, the temperature was apparently below freezing since it is winter here in the Southern Hemisphere. Later on, it warmed up. In fact, later in the afternoon, it actually felt like it might feel in my part of California sometimes. After we left the airport, we went on our buses (three buses in total) and toured the city. We got out a few times to see the sites.

SJYS people in the airport afer going through customs and before boarding the buses.

This is the Precolumbian Museum, where they have art.

Me with a statue in the museum.

Me with a police officer in Santiago who is in this case a guard. He is guarding the building behind him.

Video of the hotel. Click to watch it.