The day started off with a thorough repack of my case and jettisoning of various items to lose weight, e.g. my collection of packet soups and dried food that I'd brought in case I needed a quick meal in a hotel miles from anywhere. At Santa Fe, a couple of days ago, I was a few pounds overweight, which I was informed would cost me $100, unless I could get it under - after some hasty repacking I did, but it gave me a bit of a shock (plus the food situation generally has been good).
Here we are getting in cars to go off to the outreach program for schools, in the same theatre where we'd been the night before - we'd be playing to kids from various local schools. We'd also play and sing 'Amazing Grace' with a bunch of ukulele playing schoolkids who'd come up on stage and join us.
Talking to Greg, one of the sponsors/volunteers (we'd been transported around in their cars - all very expensive models) I said I was surprised that there were so many oak trees in Texas - he told me they grow plentifully, even in this dry climate, but there is a blight called Texas Oak Wilt which is killing many of them and is expensive to treat. I asked him about guns in Texas - apparently it's a state where people can carry concealed weapons - did he think anyone was carrying a gun at our performance last night? He told me 'No', as it was a school and therefore forbidden there - but the kids in the school had practiced a 'lockdown' that very morning (in case a gunman/woman/transitioning person gets in). He mentioned a famous actress from the 70's who sits on the trustees board of the theatre; according to her, whenever she went into a public place, restaurant cinema etc, she'd look round the room, see who was 'packing' (concealed weapons are easy to spot - they bulge!) and go and sit next to that person - the logic being, that if shooting started, she'd be near someone who'd be able to shoot back - sounds a bit crazy to me! He also told me that among the large number of gun deaths in the States - 2/3rd are suicides.
So here we are chatting to the coordinator (sorry didn't catch her name) about Amazing Grace and doing a brief rehearsal with the kids before the show.
Soundchecking - well, not exactly, the setup hadn't changed since the night before so we did a quick line check.
After the rehearsal, we took some photos with the kids.
Will points to the legend "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams" - pretty cheesy, but I suppose there are worse things you can say to children. I often have a Krusty the Clown type ambivalence about doing these sort of schools shows - I don't quite know why, as they always end up being good fun. Dave, who was a teacher, often says that kids don't get irony, so you might as well give it to them straight; when introducing his song, he told everybody where we'd been so far on this tour and how many miles we'd travelled - to gasps of amazement. I decided I might as well do the same, and stood up to demonstate my height and the ridiculous fact that I play this tiny instrument. Anyway - the whole thing seemed to go over well and there were about 1000 kids there!
We had all come back to the school from the hotel with our cases packed, as we had to rush to the airport to catch a plane to LA and then get on a plane to San Diego where our next gig would be - we'd all been given Boerne Performing Arts baseball caps.
Its not just kids who seem to be on their phones all the time - we're all at it! Leisa, walking the walk at San Antonio airport
Since we'd only have half an hour to change planes at LAX, we all ate at San Antonio airport in readyness, it would be a three and a half hour flight and we would be gaining two hours, moving time zones.
I wouldn't say that we're heavy drinkers, but I noticed that three of us had ordered Bloody Marys during the flight - the random unfairness of modern air travel meant that six of us we're upgraded and got free drinks, while the rest had to slum it at the back of the plane.
Burbs of LA
It turned out that instead of having to run like hell from one terminal to another to make our connection, we walked into the terminal to find our gate was 20 feet away.
and here we are boarding the flight to San Diego
Getting off at San Diego, Richie's wife Jenny, has flown out for his birthday and will be joining us for the next leg of the tour.
San Diego airport is modern and cosmopolitan and thus, attracts many sophisticated types.
After a right royal pain in the arse wait when our pre booked bus didn't pick us up - we had to take taxis to the hotel - Rich and I were in a taxi with possibly the surliest driver I've ever been with - I found out later that taxis here don't like passengers with luggage (so don't come to the AIRPORT Lady!). Day off tomorrow peeps!