Field Recording: Mariachi band on autobus to Teotihuacan (2 June 2012, Mexico City)

Field Recording: Mariachi band on autobus to Teotihuacan (2 June 2012, Mexico City)


Last year I made a madcap trip to see Teotihuacan within ONE MORNING. I kept notes on my phone on how this was done. I got up at the crack of dawn, wormed my way to the Terminal Autobuses del Norte via the metro (its on Line 5), bought an autobus ticket for 35 pesos, and looked for the one bus with another tourist boarding it (signage quite poor there and somewhat confusing, abandon hope all ye non-spanish speakers who enter here…) Got on a bus that said PIRAMIDS with a picture of a pyramid on it. I was dropped off at Teotihuacan at around 7.30am, was allowed to enter despite most public signs saying that it is only open at 9am. After a significant amount of walking and puffing and even more walking, I reached the peak of Pyramid of the Moon at 8am. This skillful time maneuvering was made possible thanks to a tip from my old schoolmate Paul (who was also coincidentally in Mexico at the same time??) who told me they would let visitors in early. This helped me avoid the tourist crowds before they start coming in massive droves of buses – and I was one of the first to scale the peak of the piramids that morning.

Here’s a recording of a live mariachi band that forced its way onto the autobus from the terminal to Teotihuacan. There was also a jelly seller, and a knives seller on board. I didn’t really care for the jellies (??) or the knives (???), but the band was quite funny and IN YOUR FACE, and in an extremely cramped bus with most of the people going on their normal lives with far too many baskets and bags. When the band started up in that cramped space, on the faces of the people around me I could see the tensing up of the teeth-clenching muscles, eventually followed by stoic resignation. Basically, everyone was trapped as their captive audience, and the band fought hard to be heard over the roar of the engine. The quality is not so great because it was obviously recorded on a very noisy bus, but I’m still uploading it in case anyone ever wondered what a bus ride to Teotihuacan would sound like…

P6025010 Oh and this is me with a random overfriendly trinket seller in Teotihuacan.

The reason why I am suddenly digging up all these because yesterday I attended the Substation Conferences and did an audio recording for them, and while I was there, I realised that the moderator for the roundtable discussion was someone whom I had seen speaking at another forum (Hello Ai Lin, if you ever see this!). I wanted to see if I could find the recording I had made of that other forum, but could not find it, because I think the audio file is trapped on a hard drive that I broke while I was in Paris and which I left in a drawer in London….

Nevertheless I did find the physical notebooks with the notes on those talks, as well as a whole bunch of other audio files and half-written descriptions and notes of trips to various museums/galleries such as Museo Nacional de Antropología (Mexico City), National Museum of Korea (Seoul), and other things in Hong Kong, etc. I’ve started pushing some of these draft entries online, and ONE DAY I WILL COMPLETE ALL THE BACKDATED DOCUMENTATION! But for now I should really get back to proper work…

See also:
Other posts from Mexico –
Retroalimentacion (Facultad del Artes Gallery, UAEM)
Don Porfirio – El Senor de la Bestias
La Pulqueria (San Fellipe Tlamimilolpan)

New posts on Documentations –
Notes on the “The Cost and Value of Heritage in Singapore: The Belitung Shipwreck and Bukit Brown” (14 April 2012, Mochtar Riady Auditorium, Singapore Management University)
NUS Museum’s Prep Room