A Trip without a Plan Pt. 1: Lima to Puerto Varas

If you know me…you know the title of this blog would normally give me a heart attack. I would never do this. I like to have my trips planned, I like to know exactly what I’m doing, where I’m going, whose coming, how we’re getting there, how we’re getting back, what we’re doing in between, I like itineraries, tickets in hand, confirmations etc. etc.

But no.

This trip, we threw everything out the window. Fly by the seat of your pants kind of trip. We had no plan. In fact, the only thing we did have planned was our plane ticket from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile and then a bus ticket from Santiago to Puerto Montt which we ended up missing both. Mariana (my physio on Sep7imo Dia and totally cool awesome friend on tour) and I have never missed a plane in our lives. And we just flat-out, missed our alarms (she had 5 set, I had 3 set), didn’t wake up, woke up when we were supposed to be boarding the plane, and missed the damn plane. It was the only thing we had planned. Go figure.

Our general idea for the trip was to explore the Lake District of Chile which about a 12 hour drive south from Santiago. When we started talking about it, we thought we’d rent a car and drive down, explore and then head back up. But we ended up finding a cheap flight from SkyAirlines to Santiago and then like I said, we were going to overnight bus down to Puerto Montt and arrive there the next morning. After that, we didn’t have a plan. The strategy was to get in our rental car (which we booked a day before our missed flight) and explore. No plan. No booked hotels. No way back to Santiago. Nothing. Truly, a trip without a plan.

But, I will say, once we missed that flight, the speed in which we assembled the troops and got our shit together was down right impressive. Our SkyAirline’s plane (which I would definitely recommend this airline if you ever have the chance to fly with them) was meant to take off at 8:30am, I woke up at 7:30am, and like a frantic lunatic, ran up to Mariana’s room and pounded on her door. She opened and we just stared at each other. But by the time the plane was supposed to take off, we had a completely new method to make our trip happen. We were in the airline office that was conveniently located around the corner from our hotel by 9am (the time it opened), asking if we could switch flights from here to there, from there to here, how much it would take to take one flight here, one flight there (they were very patient with us), we had messaged the bus company about our tickets, and we were calling people left and right (well Mariana was doing most of the calling due to the fact that she is fluent in Spanish…and I am not). We were in ‘go mode’. By 9:30am, we had a completely new course of action to at least get down to Puerto Montt because you bet your sweet ass we were still going to make it on our trip.

So from about 10am on…we had a free day in Lima we weren’t accounting for which actually ended up working in our favor. We decided what we were going to do on our next transfer between cities, booked those tickets, figured out where we were going to stay when we got down to Southern Chile, confirmed our rental car, took a walk, ate delicious crepes looking over the cliffs of the Miraflores coastline and chatted a bunch. It ended up being a hell-of-a-productive travel planning day.

With that being said, for the next morning, we had the front desk of the hotel give us 2 wake up calls, we both had multiple alarms set…again, and we had people calling us at 4:30am to make sure we were awake. It worked. We woke up and made both our flights down to Puerto Montt, we even gave ourselves extra time at the airport between flights to ensure we made the second connection. Once we got there, we picked up our rental car and headed to our hostel in Puerto Varas, where we had planned to spend the first night. That was that, we made it. It was time to start the trip but where to first?

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xo,

B

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Road to Luna Park

I cannot believe we’ve been here for over 50 days already! Time is flying and so is creation! The show is coming together more and more everyday. It’s so exciting being a part of the creation of a show, many artists can say they’ve been in a show and been performing for years and years. But not all of them can say they’ve been part of a creation, it’s something special. It’s not all sunshine and daisies, most of the time it’s long hard days that are only going to get longer and harder in the next stage of training. But it’s worth it and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

The way our schedule is set up, each act has their individual training time during the day. So sometimes I train in the afternoon and some of the acts will be finished for the day because they train in the morning. With that system, it’s tough for other artists, the production, creation, and management teams to see what everyone has been up to for the past two months. So last week we had presentations! Partly to show the whole crew and some family members what we’ve put together (we don’t nap and play around all day…) and partly to have some pressure while performing in front of a live audience rather than just running through the act. I’m obviously not going to spoil the results 🙂 but everyone seemed very excited for the show!

And speaking of the show, Sep7imo Dia will premiere in a venue called Luna Park here in Buenos Aires in March. It’s a very well know concert arena in the Puerta Madero area. Last weekend, we were invited to another concert taking place in Luna Park. The band was called Los Fabulosos Cadillacs which is a latin, rock, reggae band. I wanted to go to have the experience of actually seeing a show in Luna Park because it’s not like we’ll be able to watch our own show while we’re performing it!

The venue has a very large open floor area, a mosh pit of sorts. For the Los Fab concert, if you wanted to be close to the stage, you were getting bumped and grinding on the whole time. The excitement of the Argentinian crowd is crazy. Lots and lots of jumping and moving! We were on the floor but on the outskirts of the mosh pit so we had more room.

As for the actual concert, I wish I understood more of what they were saying in the songs…but even the Argentinians we were with said they didn’t understand a lot because it was so loud the whole time. It was ok music, music to jump to.

In the end I’m glad I went to see a show in Luna Park, soon I’ll be able to say not only have I seen a show in Luna Park but I’ve performed there in front of a sold out arena 🙂

Very Soon.

xo,

B

Holiday Plans & Matadors

Here are a couple of fun pictures from previous events 🙂

As I’m writing this, it’s currently 39° F at home and 92° F in Buenos Aires. With that being said…

Cody and I booked our tickets for our Christmas/New Years Adventure! I am so beyond excited! Not only will we be spending the “winter (our summer) break” on the beach, we’re going to Iguazu Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world and spending New Years on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! 🙂 WHHHAT?!

So excited!!!!

If anyone has any suggestions of things so do I’m all ears!

We will fly into Iguazu Falls and go to both the Argentinian side and the Brazilian side. The Argentinian side is more adventurous whereas the Brazilian side has the better view, so we will do both!

We’ll fly out from the Brazilian side and head to Rio de Janeiro! The Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf mountain are obviously on the list of things to do while we’re there as well as the AMAZING fireworks show that will happen on New Years Eve! It’s suppose to be one of the best firework shows IN THE WORLD! We’re stay a few blocks from Copacabana beach where all the action happens. 2 million people go to this beach to celebrate…it’s going to be a hell-of-a party!

Other things on the list of things to do, suggestions are welcome:

  1. Have a caipirinha, in a coconut, on the beach (this has been a life long dream. I kid you not)
  2. Feria Hippie de Ipanema – a hippie market that only happens on Sundays
  3. The Copacabana Fortress and Palace (two different places)
  4. Pedra do Arpoador for a sunset
  5. Possibly the Carioca Aqueduct & Escadaria Selaron which are a little farther away from the beach
  6. and maybe a tour of a favela

As well as spend as much time on the beach as we can! I know there are a lot of safety concerns when it comes to Rio. I’ve talked with a few people who have told me be street smart. If you feel like you’re in the wrong area, you probably are.

The Christmas situation here is definitely different from what I’m used to! The other night a few of us went walking through La Boca (where the famous soccer stadium is), San Telmo and Puerta Madero to finally sit down and share a drink by the water. In San Telmo there was a massive parade supporting many of the South American countries. There were lots of drums, lots of noise, lots of feathers, in as little clothing as possible with lots of booty shaking! The streets were packed with people watching and cheering their favorite country. We continued walking to Puerta Madero which is where I saw my first glimpse of Christmas this year! There were lights strung on lamp posts in the shape of candy canes, lights wrapped around ships in the water, and a large lighted Christmas tree. It was a little odd walking by in shorts and a tank top with Christmas music playing at a concert near by…but again, I’m not complaining 😉 The lights were absolutely beautiful.

Sunday morning I woke up and thought I was going to go walk around San Telmo market again just because I could. But another idea popped into my head, I wanted to go to the Feria de Mataderos which is pretty far out of the center of the city. It’s a market celebrating the traditional gaucho (Argentinian cowboy) ways and traditions.

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I walked 45 mins to the train station and took a 30 min train ride and a 20 min uber to get to the Feria. Once I was there it was really cool! Like most markets, there were hundreds of stands set up but this one had a stage in the middle. As soon as I got there I heard the music and singing. Come to find out, on December 6th (in two days) they were celebrating 30 years of the Matadors. There were lots of traditional instruments playing, singing and tango dancing. It was quite the show!

I walked around munching on an empanada looking at all of the trinkets and food available and finally decided to get a tamale and oh boy was it good! I remember having tamales growing up when my mom would make them and I thought they were the coolest thing. You had to unwrap the corn husk and the texture and taste of the corn meal was always so tasty to me, needless to say, these were very delicious. I also had some type of sweet puff pastry with jam or jelly on the inside. I don’t know what it was but it was sugary and I liked it!

I spent a few hours walking and enjoying everything before heading back home. Another successful Sunday spent at a market 🙂

Since I can’t show many training photos, here are a few photos of us attempting to get stronger….maybe, you decide.

xo,

B

Thanksgiving & El Tigre

On Tuesday night we had the chance to meet the two remaining members of Soda Stereo, Zeta and Charlie!! They wanted to have a look around and meet all of us! There’s a professional picture of it somewhere but it hasn’t come out yet, stay tuned.

THANKSGIVING! 

What a difference it is celebrating in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving with people who don’t know what Thanksgiving celebrates or what we even do for the holiday! Crazy! Thanksgiving is just one of those things that’s been engrained in our heads since we were younger, in elementary school we would make pilgrim hats or make Native American themed things out of paper. It’s such a part of American culture that you don’t realize, when you go to other countries, they have no idea what it is!

At the beginning of the week I had asked the manager if the catering could possibly do a Thanksgiving themed lunch or dinner on Thursday and he said he couldn’t guarantee anything but he would ask. The next day he said one of the chefs lived in New Orleans for 3 years and was going to give the ‘Thanksgiving lunch’ his best try! I was excited to have some comfort food 🙂

And sure enough, on Thursday he had a turkey with stuffing, a potato salad, chicken and beef for people who didn’t know it was even Thanksgiving, and an apple pecan crumble to top off dessert! It was incredibly cute and thoughtful of him to do all of that! Here he is with his turkey:

Later I was able to FaceTime with my family and play a few hands of Cards Against Humanity which has tradition in our house after Thanksgiving dinner.

Friday night, PopArt set us up with tickets to see Fuerza Bruta which is an acrobatic show that also tours around the world. They wanted us to experience a show in Argentina before our show premieres. During the show the audience was standing the whole time so there were ushers moving people constantly, water was being sprayed, a pool hovered above us and boxes of confetti burst over people’s heads! Definitely worth going to the show! I wouldn’t do it justice trying to describe everything. After the show a DJ played for a few hours so we stayed and danced! The show didn’t start until 11:30pm so by the time we were finished dancing it was around 1:30am-2am. A group of us decided to go to a shots bar call Chupitos down the street which was similar to the one we went to in Spain. It had a list of crazy shots you could order ranging in strength or sweetness. We stayed for about an hour and decided to go home around 3am feet swollen, still a little damp from the show and covered in confetti. Fun night!

Saturday was rainy and thunderstorms all day. Since I’m on the 34th floor I had a perfect view of the storm. Lighting filled the sky and the thunder was so loud and close it felt like it shook the building. With all the beautiful sunsets we’ve been having, the storm was a reminder that the prettiest sunsets come after the strongest storms. Cheesy I know but I had to say it. So I was snuggled in my room all day…all 4 episodes of the new Gilmore Girls and some napping might have also been involved.

Sunday I actually left my room and was out and about the entire day. I left at 9am to catch the metro to a stop a little outside the center of the city to meet up with Silvia and her husband Daniel! I was introduced to Silvia through a friend’s friend and she is a true porteño. Her and her husband have owned a house in El Tigre for 15 years and invited me to spend the day with them. El Tigre is a delta about an hour train ride (different from the metro) of the city of Buenos Aires. A delta is a place where 2 or more rivers join (there’s your geology lesson for the day) and there’s only 7 around the world. In this case, the rivers from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet and over time have formed many islands that people have inhabited as either vacation homes or actual homes.

They picked me up from the metro station close and we drove to the boat yard, you can’t access the islands without a boat. This boatel was enormous! 10+ hangers of rows and columns of boats, it was so impressive watching the get boats down and back up into storage. We got the boat, loaded in and we were off.

It was about a 20 min ride through the canals to their house and it was such a breath of fresh air. You don’t realize how much pure oxygen is out there until you get out of the city. There was so much nature everywhere, it was hard not to embrace it all. We pulled up to their house and their neighbors were having a birthday party for their two kids so it wasn’t quite the ‘quiet day’ Silvia thought we were going to have but it was filled with laughter and splashes.

Silvia and I took a long walk down the canal to a neighbor who sells honey and jam. We continued past the house to “Lover’s Bridge” as Silvia calls it; her son would come here with girls when he was younger so she nicknamed it Lover’s Bridge. The view was really beautiful but it made me wonder if anyone ever maintained the bridges or if my foot was going to fall through…luckily it didn’t. Walking back, we saw so many different styles of houses that were painted bright blue, red or yellow. The houses were corky and fun, each with their own style.

Not long after we got back Silvia handed me a glass of wine and told me to go relax for a bit. I didn’t refuse, it was wonderful.

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Meanwhile, Silvia and Daniel had started on lunch and guess what we were having?? Argentinian meat! My first asado! An asado is an Argentinian bbq with meat, meat and more meat. Silvia speaks very good English because she was a translator but her husband Daniel only knows a few words in English so it was a chance for me to practice Spanish! You’d be surprised how much you can communicate with animal sounds and gestures. When he was grilling I told him I was taking a picture to show my dad 🙂

These types of grills are found literally everywhere around Argentina because meat is so essential to their lifestyle and when it tastes that delicious, I don’t blame them! Daniel cooked lomo, chorizo, and blood sausage and let me tell you, my plate was clean! The lomo was the thick cut, juicy, tender, traditional steak-looking cut that melted in my mouth. The chorizo was a spicy sausage and the blood sausage was almost all black but I enjoyed it! Frist time trying it and they were surprised I liked it! The typical salad to have with your meal is called ‘ensalada mixta’ which is just lettuce, tomato and onion and we had some carrot shaving on top. I knew I wasn’t going to be hungry for the rest of the day, everything was beyond delicious!

After lunch, there was a boat that came down the canal, essentially a floating grocery store. You don’t even have to leave your own pier, it comes right to you! It had all the essentials, beer and wine included, and you just wave your hand to flag them down! It comes everyday once a day at the same time so people know when to expect it.

After relaxing a little more in the sun, letting all of that meat digest, I was off back to the main land to check out the El Tigre market before heading back into BA. It was a holiday on Monday so Silvia and Daniel were going to stay at the house. Silvia walked me to the “bus stop” where a boat bus usually picks people up to bring them “to continent”. She was sending me off on my next adventure…making it home.

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Water shuttle

Silvia had given me directions to the Puerta de Frutas market because at one point, fruit is all they sold. Now you can only find maybe one fruit stand, the rest is a big market with everything imaginable. It was about a 10 min walk from where we docked and I got to spend an hour there before things started closing. I didn’t even make it to a quarter of the market, it was massive! I definitely have plans to go back!

You can buy matte cups everywhere! It’s really more of a lifestyle then an activity, I’ll have to dedicate a whole post to ‘The Matte Life’.

I walked back to the train station to ride back into the city. What a successful day!

I could not be more thankful to Silvia and Daniel for inviting me to their home. Not many travelers get to have an experience like that! They’ve already claimed me as a daughter, I feel like I have another home away from home 🙂

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So fun & so thankful!

It’s NOT starting to feel a lot like Christmas here considering it’s 80 degrees and sunny but I’m not complaining 🙂

xo,

B

Apple. Bubble. Saddle. Elbow. Carpet.

Well last week fell short of expectations on the training end of things but sometimes you need a reality check to keep you on the straight and narrow.

On Monday I seemed to hit my head a little harder than expected. I finished practice and felt fine the rest of the day. I even went up to the roof to look at the b-e-a-utiful view of the super moon! But sleeping that night was a little difficult due to the fact that my head was pounding. It felt ok-ish in the morning so I went into practice, started warming up on the stationary bike and the headache got worse…I knew what it was. I’ve had a concussion before which was part of the reason exercise was stopped immediately. So Tuesday I was sent home to get some rest. I went back to my apartment, closed all the shades and rested for the rest of the day. I ended up going to the hospital to see a doctor (part of protocol) and get a CT scan to make sure everything was alright…the doc said I’ll live. There’s nothing like a good little hit on the head to knock some sense into you. Be more careful. Note taken.

The rest of the week I was on the ‘coming-back-from-a-concussion protocol’ which involves memorizing 5 words a day until I can recite them back to the athletic trainer without missing any which isn’t easy when your given the words but immediately asked to answer 30 more questions about reciting numbers and months backwards and then asked to give the completely random 5 words back. Guess what the first day’s 5 words were…apple. bubble. saddle. elbow. carpet…I won’t forget them now! Thanks Mariana 🙂 I will be back to train next week!

Anyways, here was my view of the super moon from South America! (because you haven’t seen enough pictures).

Thursday was an eventful day! At practice we had the pleasure of meeting the President of Argentina and the Prime Minister of Canada! A few of us ended up on the President’s snapchat account!

That night, a group of us went to a Traveler’s Dinner which is a closed-door dinner event unless you have an invitation/reservation. The owner of the place brings in a chef from different countries to cook a fantastic meal for travelers in the area. The idea is to bring travelers together, share stories, and learn about the world. Thursday night’s theme was a Russian dinner, yes I am in Argentina having a Russian dinner with a few Russian, French, Danish, Canadian and Argentinian cast members! I’d like to think I’m becoming more “worldly”. The dinner was definitely something different and fun to try. We started with wine/beer, pirozhki (rolls stuffed with sautéed cabbage slaw), river fish (tasted like herring) with onions on toast, and a shot of vodka. Moved onto borsch (a type of veggie soup that was very good), potato peirogis and neoplian tart with another shot of vodka for dessert, Zdorov’ya! People are starting to realize I take pictures of everything…

Here’s a little fun fact that got us excited: at the table we were naming of all of the touring shows in Cirque so I went on the Cirque webpage and look what I found 🙂

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Saturday was a relatively sunny day so I decided to walk to the Japanese Gardens (Jardín Japonés) which is about an hour walk from the apartment building. Since I couldn’t work out all week, I decide it was going to be a much-needed walk. But not before being surprised by some friends outside of my window…

It’s spring time here so all of the trees and flowers are just starting to pop up. The city is turning beautiful shades of green and purple! The purple trees/flowers are called Jacaranda and they line the major avenues, plazas and city streets. It’s an unexpected pop of color and life when you’re walking around the bustling city.

I made it the Jardíns in just under an hour being the speed walker that I am (it’s not ‘arrival time’ it’s ‘time to beat’) and learned they are biggest Japanese gardens outside of Japan. It was $70 ARG to enter which is about $5 USD.

An hour is plenty of time to spend walking around enjoying the view. There’s a very nice restaurant inside the jardíns if you are in the mood for a classier lunch/dinner.

Sunday was a recharge day, getting ready for the week to come because it’s going to be a long one. In the afternoon, a group of us walked to El Ateneo Grand Splendid which is a famous book store in BA. There are a few of them in the city but this one in particular is well-known, it was a theater turned bookstore and it’s beautiful! There’s a cafe where the stage initially was where you can sit and enjoy your new purchases. I would have bought a book but my Spanish isn’t quite good enough to be able to read and enjoy Spanish literature but was a perfect Sunday stroll destination. We ended up sitting in the cafe talking for a few hours.

Heading home, there was no getting around it, we stopped for ice cream. It was on our way back, it would’ve been a crime to just pass by. Since Buenos Aires has a huge italian influence (I’m talking pizza and pasta that will transport you to Italy or so I’ve been told, I haven’t tried it yet), the ice cream, or gelato I should say, is just a little too tasty.

xo,

B

 

VIPs for the Night

Thankful. Grateful. Blessed. Honored. Happy. Appreciative.

These are the words that come to mind when I get to look out my balcony at this view 🙂

This past weekend we were invited to a PopArtMusic concert, the same company that will be touring our show! It’s one of the biggest concerts in BA with some of the most popular South American bands. We were picked up from our hotel in shuttles and taken to the back entrance of the concert. They gave us wrist bands and guided us into the VIP lounge where they had a wall of Soda Stereo album covers that people could look at and take pictures in front of and there were drinks, apps, and our own personal entrance into the concert!

 

It was a little intimidating walking into the concert area. We walked down this big open pathway with people crammed against the fences on both sides. They had been there all day waiting for the good bands to come on and trying to get as close to the front as they could while we had all the space we wanted…we were those people 🙂 Once we were in the area we had an amazing view of the stage, lights, and monitors. The music was not just loud, it was that type of loud where you could feel it in your whole body but it was also the type of music you wanted to dance to even though we knew none of the words! And we got to see the bass player, Zeta, from Soda Stereo play!

After the concert we went to a food truck festival happening in the same place as the meat festival, at the horse race stadium. There were so many food trucks it was hard to choose what to eat! I ended up getting wine (obviously), an onion sausage frittata, and nitrogen ice cream! The ice cream was made right in front of us in a kitchen aid mixer that made tons of fog when everything was mixed, and then all the sudden, your cone of ice cream would appear. It was magic. Cool process and the ice cream was phenomenal! Dulce de leche flavored of course 🙂

Fun night with fun people!

xo,

B

Walking Experiences

Wow!

What an amazing cast and crew we have working here and we’ve only just finished the second week! Apart from being probably the most sore I’ve ever been in my life for the first week, it was an awesome couple of weeks! It’s a lot to adjust to for everyone so it’s not only a physical change but mental too. But it’s hard to do anything but smile when this is the view from my apartment 🙂

Just like in Montreal, training and anything having to do with the show/acts/characters ect. is TOP SECRET so there’s not much I can tell you from that aspect of things other than it’s going to be “historic”!

As far as Buenos Aires goes, I’m trying to see as much as I can. The first weekend was a walking adventure! Noon on Saturday I headed to the Floralis Genérica which is a massive metal flower that opens and closes with the sun everyday. Each petal ways around a ton and the whole structure glows with different colors at night, it’s an icon for BA.

I ended up meeting 2 of the other girls from the cast and walked over to Plaza Francia which is fun open air market with little trinkets, clothes, jewelery, etc. As we walked through the market, we were also on our way to the Recoleta cemetery. It seems odd a cemetery is a “must-see” place in BA but it really is an interesting spot. It looked like a small city that no one occupys…odd but beautiful at the same time. This wasn’t your typical cemetery, the tomb stones weren’t just headstones in the Earth, they are beautiful structures with massive sculptures of angels and figures, the craftsmanship is amazing. Definitely an interesting part of the BA experience.

Earlier in the week I had seen a sign for a “Festival of Meat” on the weekend so we decided that was our lunch spot. We took a cab to the horserace stadium in Palermo. Similar to Preakness in the sense that the infield was full of food trucks, music and lots of people. I got a meat-filled empanada (yum), some papas bravas (different from Spain’s), and of course ice cream :). The ice cream was vanilla with a dulce de leche swirl and it was so hot outside, it started melting down my hand immediately. No ice cream wasted here, it was delicious to the last drop!

We left the festival full and ready to walk some of those calories off. We walked for about 25 mins into Palermo which is the young and trendy neighborhood where most of the bars, restaurants and clubs are. The girls wanted to do some shopping. I had already brought 2 suitcases too many so I restrained myself on the ‘buying part’ of the shopping experience but it was nice to look around and see the fashion differences in South America. Platform sandals and shoes are ALL the rage here.

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We met up with a couple from BA who are also part of the cast! They were driving back into the city and they stopped to meet us in a square in Palermo. We walked for a bit and then had “tea time”. Since there is a lot of European influence in BA, their days are structured a little differently than I’m used to. Everything starts later, it’s almost like a delay in the day. I’m not sure when most people eat breakfast but I’ve seen people eating what looks like lunch at around 3-4pm, tea time (essentially snack time) around 7-8pm, and dinner at 11-12pm at night! Grandparents and children are eating then as well! Just something to get used to I guess. We shared a pitcher of lemonade with a snack on the terrace of a funky place and enjoyed the company.

Since I had been walking all day, it was hot out, and my legs were feeling pretty exhausted, I got home and spent the night in my room falling asleep to Netflix, crazy Saturday night, I know.

Sunday was a little less eventful but relaxing and just what I needed. I spent the whole day at the apartment’s pool with some of the cast and crew who had the same idea, it was much-needed. I went on a little adventure to find a nicer grocery store farther away than usual later in the day but other than that, I was preparing for the second week of training!! It’s hard not to be excited when you start seeing billboards for the show 🙂

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xo,

B

Welcome to Buenos Aires

It’s official! I have left the US of A on an adventure with the circus! First stop, Buenos Aires, Argentina! I’ve been fortunate enough throughout my life to have been able to go to a lot major cities around the States and some of Europe but none compare to the massiveness of Buenos Aires, 15.3 million people work and live in the city. I look out the window of my apartment and see an endless horizon of skyscrapers, buildings, and houses, it’s a beautiful city. It reminds me a little of Baltimore with the “port style” city but then a little of Ocean City, MD because of the way most of the taller buildings have balconies, it has its own vibe.

The first few days have been a whirlwind! So many new people, so much information, new country, new language, new currency, new apartment, new everything! Which is very exciting but some what nerve-racking at times. The first day I went to the ATM to try to get cash out and didn’t know what the machine was telling me because it’s all in Spanish…I will learn Spanish very quickly whether I like it or not. I have started my Rosetta Stone again and Duolingo to try to learn as quickly as I can. Just from being here for a week now, a lot of my high school Spanish has come back to me which is helpful. You never know what information your brain stores until you need it.

We are so fortunate to have a very nice apartment building in the city. I have my own room with a bathroom, small kitchenette and a bed, all the essentials! Although, I have come to the conclusion I have brought WAYYY too much stuff. 4 suitcases is too many but I’m the type of person that would rather have more than less to start so I will be sending definitely one full suitcase home, hopefully two.

After a few days of settling in, we had our first group meeting so we could meet everyone and get to know the people who we will be on tour with for the next year and a half! So far there are 2 other people from the States but other than that we are a very international cast which is really cool! Everyone has their own story of how they came to be in this crazy circus of ours.

I don’t know if anyone else uses the “save” option on Google Maps but I use it all the time, I love it. You put in a place you want to go and you save it so you can go back to it without searching. Well my google maps looks like Buenos Aires is a galaxy. I have so many places stared to visit and I’ve even checked a  few of them off! Here are a few of my wanderings so far (If you run your mouse over the photo or click on it, it should have a caption):

That’s all for now!

xo,

B

Cirque du Soleil Workshop: The Final Week

Ahh I can’t believe I forgot to post this!

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WEEK 4! The final week of the workshop, I can’t believe it’s been a month already!

Monday:

Cody left early in the morning to catch his 12 hour bus home.

This week’s schedule was a little different from the previous weeks because there was a kid’s camp happening in the mornings so our schedule started an hour later, cut a half and hour out of our lunch but then finished at the same time at the end of the day.

So instead of starting warm up at 9am we started at 10am but today I had a meeting with a guy I’ve been talking to about #SodaCirque (!!!) at 9:45am. So great getting to meet all of these people in person who I’ve spoken with on the phone! I found out a lot more information about the show and a more definite schedule although nothing in definite with Cirque until it’s actually happening I’ve come to learn.

When practice started I was actually able to do real skills this week! I started out doing the skill I was working on before I got split open by the bar. No one else had worked on this skill so for the big presentation at the end of the week, I would be the only one doing it.

During our lunch hour, in the studio next door, they were setting up the stage for the show in South America! So cool!! They had to make sure all the pieces were there and everything worked before they sent it down.

After lunch, during the afternoon session, I tried a different skill but ended up going back to the morning session skill because I liked it better 🙂

After a trip to the nicer grocery store with a few other crew members we had dinner and reconvened downstairs for a little Cards Against Humanity with some new friends we met at HQ who were staying the residence now too. That game gets people comfortable with each other pretty quickly! Two of the guys were actually on touring shows already and were just here for rehab or training a new act.

Tuesday 

Regular sessions for the day, continued to work on different skills while making them consistant at the same time. We started to nail down more of a routine and an order for the presentation that was coming which we found out there were going to be quite a few important people coming to watch…no pressure.

After the afternoon session, I rented a bike and went to the pharmacy down the street and grabbed a few thank you cards just to show my appreciation to everyone there who I was able to meet and work with. I really had a great time and I wanted to make sure they knew that! And of course, along with the French thank you cards (that I had to translate first before I bought them to make sure they did actually say thank you and not something else…) I found some more candy bars I hadn’t tried yet, I can’t resist trying sweets 🙂

My favorite out of this bunch is the Crunchie bar, it’s sponge toffee that has a weird texture but is one of those candies that can get stuck in you teeth and you get to pick out for the next hour. I like those, it keep me occupied. I know what you’re thinking, no I did not eat all of these candy bars at once! I actually brought most of them home so my family could try them too.

Wednesday 

Wednesday, I had another meeting with Patrick at 9:45am to ask a few more questions forgot to ask the first time. I am getting a better idea of the show the more I get to talk with people about it, it gets me more and more excited!!

Morning session, lunch and afternoon session were the same, making more of the routine adding in costumes if we wanted to. At the end of the afternoon session we meet the VP of Cirque who actually has actually announced the past 7 Olympics for Canada, he had just gotten back from Rio!

We also got to go see another C:Lab happening for #Soda! Can you tell I’m excited!! I went back to the physio room to see the trainers to get some strengthening moves I could do when I got home to keep my ankle and knee strength up before going to SA.

I went home and had told Olivia and Steph that we should go up to the Portuguese place up the street because it was that good! We all go chicken that hit the spot right away but at 6:45pm I had my last massage. When I looked at my watch it was 6:38…I had to literally sprint home on a full stomach to make it! I made it there just in time.

With my belly full and muscles relaxed I went back to my room and slept like a baby.

Thursday 

Today was the day of the final presentation!!

We started practice at the same time but our coach let us out an hour before our scheduled lunch time so we could have extra time to get ready. The boutique store which never seemed to be open was finally open! So I went to go check that out and ended up buying a few things of course.

After lunch we put our costumes on and got ready as people started to show up. The man in charge of this project expected 25ish people to come…there were 90-100 people who came!! It was awesome! He introduced the project to everyone while we climbed up on the apparatus. When he was done, the music started and we started our routine. If someone didn’t make their combination or skill, we created an interesting system to hoist the person back up so they could try again if they wanted to. Everyone either made their combo the first or second time and the presentation was an amazing success! Even though I had only been back swinging on the apparatus for a week, I made my skill the first time! The power of positive thinking and visualization at work 🙂 (thanks dad).

After the presentation I went to the physio room to see JP on how to “manipulate my scar” so the scar tissue doesn’t continue to build up to the point where the skin gets stiff, it’s not pleasant to rub a new scar and it’s a little painful.

Before the happy hour they had prepared for us, Steph, Olivia and I went exploring in the rest of HQ. When you’re wandering around a place known for its creativity, you’re bound to find some odd things:

We went right up to the happy hour Marie had set up for us as a good-bye/great job! Sangria and apps galore. We were able to talk with the coaches and some of the head people who came to watch the presentation and get some insight into where this apparatus is heading and what they are thinking the next steps will be. It’s pretty cool to be able to talk with some of the important people making the executive decisions about the shows.

We ended up leaving HQ and heading back to the residence with pitchers of unfinished sangria in our arms 🙂 All we had tomorrow was a meeting to wrap up the month so we were going to make the best of the night!

Friday

Checked into my flight at 10am, I had another meeting with the costume department at 10:30am to get more measurements taken so they can have something to work with before going down to SA. This time I got to meet Michael Laprise and Chantal Tremblay who are MAJOR PLAYERS in Cirque. They created the show Kurios which is now touring the US! And they are the artistic directors for my show!!!

Our final wrap up meeting started at 1pm and the whole team + coaches and riggers were there to give final thoughts on month and what we thought the next steps should be. It was an awesome meeting, so many good ideas being thrown out there with a lot of constructive feedback.

In lines with concluding everything, we each had a meeting with the physio to make sure we were leaving in the same condition we came in as…stitch free! Aside from some rips, pretty good finger burns, and a gash that didn’t want to stay closed without stitches, I was doing just fine!

Doing a little more exploring, I was able to go up to the very top of HQ to “the grid” and see what the technicians see:

Since this was our very last night in town we wanted to do something all as a team. A few members had been to an archery tag place earlier in the month and said it was a ton of fun. Our new friends joined us for our 6:30pm reservation time. I was expecting a laser tag kind of set up but it was actually just an open area inside a building with a few blow up things to hide behind. The concept was a lot like laser tag, if someone hit you, you were out. It ended up being really fun! We played against a team of random people and of course, being the compeitive athletes and acrobats, we won!

We went back to the residence and joined our Russian friends out by the BBQ and played games and laughed until we were exhausted.

Conclusion of the month: I would not have changed a thing! I loved every single second of this month and I could not be more grateful to have gotten the opportunity! The people, the apparatus and the workshop became my friends, a challenge conquered and an absolutely wonderful experience! I wish everyone the best of luck and I will miss everyone! Hopefully I will be fortunate enough to be up there again in the future but for now, I’ve got my sights set on South America 🙂


Saturday

Saturday came early, I had to turn my ID in (which I wish I wouldn’t have but you live and you learn) and left the residence at 6:30am to give myself enough time to go through customs. Montreal has an interesting system where you go through customs in the Montreal airport rather than when you get into the US. The flight took off at 10am and I was headed home! What a great experience! 🙂

Xx, Bets

Weekend #3 Adventures

Saturday: 

Cody Arrived in the Morning!

As soon as he arrived, I planned a whole list of things I wanted to show him! We rented bikes from HQ and rode all the way to our first stop which was St. Vieatur’s Bagels, of course, becasue its delicious! We each got a single bagel, some cream cheese, went outside to sit on a bench and enjoy our breakfast.

The original St. Vieatur’s shop is actually very close to Mt. Royal. Even though we drove up the other weekend, I wanted to go again and find a different view. So we rode all the way up Mt. Royal (the mountain Montreal is named after, I can’t remember if I said that before) and found another amazing view:

The ride up was tough but the ride down was a breeze, we coasted all the way down to our lunch spot which was Schwartz! The famous smoked meat sandwich place. Montreal is known for three things: poutine, bagels and smoked meat and I was going to check all three off my list. The line to get into the actual restaurant was so long but right next door there was a take-away section. We waited in line at the take-away section for a good 10-ish mins before getting up to order, it was a busy place. We both ordered the standard/traditional smoked meat sandwich with a side of smoked meat poutine 🙂 We got our fill of smoked meat. Needless to say, it was yummy.

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Schwartz was on Rue St. Laurent which is the street you can take all the way down to Old Port, so we hopped on our bikes and tried to avoid people as best we could going down the sidewalks. Old Port is pretty hilly so we found a bike rack and started walking around where we found a nice fountain the take a nap by.

We walked through Old Port, went back to the maple shop and had a sample of the iced maple syrup. They put a maple syrup concentrate on a bed of ice, stick a popsicle in it and roll it right up! It’s a cold maple-y treat! Way too sweet to have a big one though, that’s why we only got samples.

I still hadn’t been inside the Basilica so we walked by again but there was still an incredibly long line out front so we never ended up going in but we did see a bride and groom drive by out front!

At that point we were getting tired and knew we had to ride our bikes all the back to HQ so I thought going through the Gay Village on our way back up to the residence would be a good idea so Cody could see it…well we get out 3/4 of the way down the street and my tire popped…I had been on the metro before and I didn’t see anyone with a bike so I didn’t know if they were allowed, no taxi or über was going to put a bike in their car, so what did we do? We walked. All. The. Way. Home. 5 Miles…Sorry Cody. BUT the silver lining was that we were going to an all-you-can-eat sushi place for dinner! So the exercise was a good thing 🙂

The sushi place was actually down by Schwartz so we definitely weren’t walking or biking there. We grabbed and über, demolished A TON of delicious sushi from a huge menu to pick from, some beer and some sake and called it a night!

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Sunday: 

It was supposed to rain on Sunday at around 1pm and I knew I wanted to go to the Jean-Talon Market for breakfast so we rented bikes again (not the same bike with the popped tire) and rode to the market.

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The very first stop I wanted to make was to get some of that corn that looked so delicious last time! And it was absolutely worth coming back for, fresh sweet corn with some butter and salt, ummhmm good.

We also wanted real breakfast so there was a crepe place right in the market that looked fantastic last time I was there as well. We both order one and they were pretty big, but again, delicious.

We arrived back at the residence just in the nick of time before it started raining. It was a movie kind of day, not to mention we were kind of exhausted from yesterday’s schedule. So we relaxed the rest of the day until dinner.

There was a Portuguese place right up the street that was supposed to be phenomenal. It is called O Cantinho and it was probably the best place I ate the entire trip! Bread, butter and olives to start, some wine and delicious Portuguese food. Cody and I ended up splitting the two dished that came with almost everything. The menu was in Portuguese and French, no english, so we asked the server what was good to order. He suggested, if we were looking to try a little of everything (and let’s face it, we always are) these would be the best combos. One was a sample meat dish and the other was a sample seafood dish, both served with fries and a salad. The pictures don’t do it justice, so so so good! And of course there was an absolutely beautiful sunset as we were finishing dinner and walking home.

Great weekend! I had checked everything off my bucket list and I still had a week to go!

Next will be my final week in Montreal! I can’t believe it was almost a month at that point, the time flew by!

Xx, Betsy