Life on the road with The Rolling Stones

I left home for the Stones tour in Latin America seven weeks ago. Two more days in Mexico City, then I will be on my way to Cuba on Friday. The stay in Cuba will be a relaxing one for several reasons. Easter Holidays in Norway start on Friday, and the holiday last for eleven – 11 – days up to and including Monday March 28. I booked my nine days Cuba holiday in October last year, so this will be a real holiday, with a Stones show on Friday March 25 that is…

Easter Holiday back home means I don’t have to work i.e. do my daytime job. Unlike most other fans who travel, I work every day. The week is 168 hours to be exact. I have two separate e-mail boxes, one for work and one for IORR. Every day there are approx 100 e-mail for work and approx 50 for IORR. My customers and my collegues expect me to respond within eight working hours. Every day Monday to Friday. Some times they expect a reply by noon; that is hard when there is a seven hours time zone difference. So far I have managed all my work quite well, but now I am tired. Getting overworked started in Porto Alegre, where I lost both Friday and Monday workdays for travel/flights. Then I was “holding the fort” in Lima and Bogota. Avianca from Bogota to Mexico City made trouble for my daily routines.

I knew my two months in Latin America would be challenging vs food, work, Internet, resting and training. They say 50% i.e. half of all travels in general are messed up due to travel illness. That is travels that typically last for one to two weeks. I was fine for six weeks, then I did the usual mistakes. I acccepted ice cubes in the glass for the water and the Coke. I took the salad they gave me. Some times. A few times I walked the streets with cash in my pockets. One time I walked for two hours with the ticket in my pocket. Never break these rules. Never. Nobody took my money or ticket so far, but the Avianca flight messed up my Mexico City plans.

I have been on a strict Coca Cola and Snickers diet for four days here in Mexico City. It is boring but necessary. Last time I had similar trouble was in Tanzania Africa in Kilimanjaro at 4,700 masl. That trouble lasted for 14 days. Now I have to speed up the recovery so that show number two in Mexico will be more of a pleasure than a pain. I do have all the drugs I need so no worries, but I just want my normal life back…

The day after the first Mexico City show my good friend Dean asked if I would join him for a trip to nearby Xochimilco. It is a “tourist trap” 20 km i.e. 13 miles south of Mexico City, with canals and boats a la Venice. So we went there, got trapped, enjoyed it, then went to the posh area in Mexico City called Coyoacán. A great area and very different from where I stay close to the MEX airport. We found some “new friends” and made some posing next to them, as you can see from one of the below pictures.

I had a couple of beers, may God forbid, and for the evening I had a spicy meal. Still I blame myself for being so stupid. So back to square one. I am back on Coke and Snickers only for the rest of my Mexico stay. For the the 2nd show tomorrow I will be fine, well as good as it gets, for the time being, to quote one of my favorite actors and movies.

On a long tour you can’t party, smile, drink and be social every hour every day. I am following the tour, I am not part of the tour. The Stones have their own doctors on the tour, I have a little plastic bag with painkillers like Paracet, Ibux and a few other miracle pills. The most important thing is to use your brains, some time my brian is more stupid than the rest of my body. So if I don’t jump up and down all the way through the show and smile and shout Olé Olé Olé and join in on all the selfie photos and all that stuff, it is not because I am unfriendly or shy, I am just tired, and I am trying to recover in my own slow pace… No worries!

As for the daily routines, I wake up at 7am, do my daytime work on my PC for 6, 8 or 10 hours every working day. If Internet is bad in my room then I stay in the lobby, or here in Mexico my hotel have a great outdoor patio where I work for an hour or two, then I move inside to re-charge the battery of my PC, two more hours inside, then outside etc. Work first, there might be an emergency, then IORR e-mail, show reports, photos, updates, translations from and to Spanish and so on. I gave up on tourist trips to places that takes more than an hour many weeks ago. No time for that. I need to walk ideally, typically three hours every day, or a taxi max 30 minutes, even with traffic. As we are now two days away from Easter Holidays in Norway, work is slowing down, luckily, so I may do some more walking in Mexico City.

I love Mexico City, and I enjoy the changes Mexico City has been going through since I first visited during the 1997/1998 tour. The green and yellow “beetle” taxis are now replaced by pink and yellow CD MX taxis, they are still cheap, last night I paid 150 peso i.e. 7 US dollars for a one hour drive in heavy traffic. During another taxi trip yesterday the driver asked for 30 peso. We had to argue a bit but then we realized the driver did really say thirty in Spanish so I gave him 40. There is too much onion and spices in the food here for me, but the people are all friendly and helpful, like they have been through the entire Latin America tour. The Latin America tour will be visited by more than one million fans, and I am so happy to be part of it.