So there are both good and bad things to report. I guess I'll start with the bad. There is a drug war going on in Culiacán right now, apparently the worst one in years, maybe ever. The war is between 2 narco families struggling for power, although both families have been targeting the police as well as the government. In general, things are not too bad if you use caution and try to avoid going out, especially late at night. However, there has recently been a threat against the governor, and this affects the orchestra directly because we are scheduled to play at his house tomorrow. Not good. You would think that this concert would be canceled, and that the conductor would not want to lead his orchestra into any danger, but this is not the case. We are still required to play this concert, even though there is no guarantee of safety. Our assinine conductor has informed us that it is our chance to "get in good" with the governor. Yesterday, several members of the orchestra proposed that we boycott this concert, but when push comes to shove, I think a lot of them may change their minds. I'm not really sure what to do, but I am seriously leaning towards not going. I have several reasons, other than the fact that I think it's dangerous. First of all, I never get paid on time. Ever. It took them almost two months before I even got my first check, and that was a fight. Also, because I am now staying until December, they are supposed to pay me over the summer, which requires me to have a bank account. I asked for this months ago, and it still has not been done. Everytime I make a request, the answer from the administration is "Well, you're not a regular member, you're just a sub." This makes me think, why should I risk my life to go to this concert if I am not even a member of this orchestra? Oh, and the principal player took this concert off since it only requires 2 oboes. So who did he ask to play principal? Not me. He asked the 3rd/EH player, who, I'm sorry to say, is the worst oboist I've ever heard in my life, and not my favorite person. He informed all us gringos that if we can't deal with the violence here, we should go back to our own countries. Well, maybe I will. My country is starting to look pretty good right about now. Anyway, should I run the risk of being fired? Or should I just pack up and go home? Opinions and advice are welcome.
In good news, I celebrated Mother's Day with some lovely ladies. I don't remember is I've mentioned the Oxxo before, but it is a chain of convenience stores all over Mexico. There is one right across from our apartment, and we get a lot of our basic necessities from there. Anyway, the lady that owns it (who we finally found out was named Imelda) has gotten to know Andrea and me over the last couple of months. She and her 11 year old daughter (Fernanda) invited us for lunch on Sunday. Little did we know that they were going to take us to her mother's house for family gathering and feed us authentic Mexican food. It was pretty amazing. Her mother had a ranch out in the country where the rooms were indoors, but the kitchen/dining area were outside. There were all sorts of animals roaming around, and we found it pretty amusing to hear roosters crowing every few minutes. It was really nice of them to invite us into their home and show us some of their culture. All in all, a very nice day :)