November 2000

Mexico City, Digital Carousel Sound System

The time has arrived for another report on Mexico. I have just returned from a service trip to Mexico City and to the Tepetango water park, which is located about an hour west of Toluca.

Several years back I went to Mexico on Delta Airlines only to find they transferred us to a different airline from Atlanta to Mexico.

On that flight everything went wrong and I decided not to fly Delta to Mexico again. Trying to build up my frequent flyer time with Delta I decided to try once again and booked the second half of the fiight on the same airline. This time I found the airline to be very good and they were using fairly new aircraft. My only problem was with the return flight when the meal was served. I asked for the beef meal and I cannot say for sure but I think the bull lost the fight in the bull ring and I ate the beef.

On arrival at Mexico City I was taken to the location of my first organ to service and found it in good condition. The organ belongs to Gustavo Fuentes of the Hnos. Fuentes Gasca Circus. This is one of the large circus families in South America and I had the privilege of attending their circus after completing part of the repairs.

Unfortunately they put me in the same hotel as they did on my first visit to Mexico and it was the only bad part of the trip. The last time I stayed there they sold my room and when I came back after a long days work I had nowhere to go. You can read about that episode in my earlier stories.

This time I found a dirty towel on the floor, Maintenance tools scattered about the room and the television controller would not work. I was on the fifth floor and no one in Mexico slept that night, as it was the week they celebrate their independence. All night long fireworks were going off and everyone was singing in the streets. Between the noise outside coupled with the noise inside it was a very long night.

After completing my work there I was picked up by two men and transported to the Tepetango water park where I found the organ in need of repairs I could not make with the parts in my tool kit. There was a malfunction of a vacuum switch and after they finished trying to repair it they not only needed the switch but had ruined a transfer relay and shorted out the circuit board in the motor control system I will be going back next week to finish the repairs and install the new parts.

The men who picked me up to take me to Tepetango were driving a ten-year-old Volkswagen beetle which is a very common car in Mexico. They still build the old style beetle there and there are thousands of them on the streets, Most of the taxicabs are beetles with the front passengers seat removed. When you enter the cab you put your baggage in front and climb in the back seat and hope for the best. if you do not speak the language do not ride the taxi as you will be overcharged or in some extreme cases taken somewhere and robbed.

The men transporting me ran the beetle at 80 miles per hour and faster and I was surprised it would go that fast. The trip from Mexico City to Toluca was over a mountain range and the road from Toluca to Tepetango was mostly in flat country until we were near our final destination. One section of the highway had tollbooths and had federal police stationed outside with shotguns strapped on and pointed down. I asked why they were there and they said the road was operated by an outside company much the same as some of our toil roads in the U.S. are operated and they were just guarding the road.

The hotel I was taken to while at Tepetango was first class and I enjoyed my stay there.

Now Tepetango is a first class water park with many different pools including several wave pools and giant water slides. There is entertainment going on most of the time in the park and also in the large open amphitheater. The organ is just there for free entertainment and adds ambience to the park. It is a model 87 Stinson with special bright colors to match the other attractions.

On this trip I decided I would not eat any food, which was prepared with the local water, and try to escape the consequences I have suffered on every other trip to Mexico. Every hotel has bottled water in the rooms as a standard fixture. Montezuma's revenge is the common word for the travelers to this part of the world and I was just not going to get caught by it this time. if our hospitals here in the U.S. would just give you a glass of water from Mexico they would save millions each year on fast acting laxatives and get better results.

On my second day in Mexico City I was invited to go to dinner with Gustavo and his friends and we went to a smorgasbord and I ate the food there and hoped for the best.

During the stay at Tepetango I ate at the food stands in the park and figured I was in for it. I was very fortunate to get home with no problems and even told my wife I had finally made one trip with no problems. The next day Montezuma aimed both barrels at me and I knew I had lost the battle, in fact he just might have aimed three barrels at me this time so I will just hope the beef from the bull ring was the culprit.

During my last night the men told me they would like to give me a tour of the town we were staying in and it was an experience I could never have as a tourist. They drove me to the center of town and parked the Volkswagen two blocks down a very dark Cobblestone Street and we walked to the town square where the last day of the independence celebration was still going on. There was a very large carnival set up which included the entire major rides and two carousels with no music. A large street market was spread over the remainder of the downtown and everything was for sale from rag dolls to home baked breads of all kinds.

I think I might have been the only American in the town celebration but the men told me to relax as I was in real Mexico with real people and not the tourist area as in Mexico City.

Happy Mexican music was everywhere and most of the people there were caught up in the celebration and had big smiles on their faces. It was a pleasant experience and a rare one to be able to see the people without all the tourist traps and I felt at home with the people in this town.

In the center of the town stood a large and beautiful Catholic Church, which we entered as a mass was being conducted. These churches are very beautiful inside and I wish I could have taken pictures but could not while services were going on.

On my return trip I will take some pictures of the Tepetango Park and will submit two or three of these for the next issue.

Back at the organ factory we are in the final stages of new product development. Over the years we have had many people who would like to use organs on carousels in quiet locations but felt they could not control the volume of the instrument.

For this reason we have developed a very high quality sound system using a compact disc player coupled to a very high quality amplification system and a small organ facade. This system sounds much like the real organ and maintains high quality sound from extreme low volume to the sound level of the real organ and above.

We will feature this in the next issue with complete specifications and pictures.

Another new development is our new generation organ with MIDI control taking the place of the traditional music roil. This feature is very good for commercial applications and features the Wurlitzer and Stinson music. More on this in the next issue. We still offer our organs with music roil or MIDI.

Next: Band Organ Note No. 22, December 2000
Previous: Band Organ Note No. 20, October 2000

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