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

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

 

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

It’s Been a While

Hellooo,

I just realized how long it has been since I actually wrote a blog post so I thought I would come atcha with a short one. What I have been doing recently:

  • Uploading ‘Skill Update’ videos every month (if you would like to subscribe or watch the videos, here is the YouTube Channel link)
  • Since two pairs of grips ripped in the same exact spot within a month I had to call the grip company and request two new pairs because they are not suppose to rip like that. But now that I have at least one good pair, I will start working with my club coach again to finish learning a new bar dismount required for one of the Cirque shows
  • I go to LA Fitness to get my regular workout in
  • Coach the little kiddies that come into Docksiders for gymnastics classes
  • I’m at the tail end of studying for my personal trainer certificate and should be taking the test veeeeeery soon! 🙂
  • And to top it all off, I’m a trampoline instructor at the Trapeze School New York based in DC! If you want to take one of my classes here is the class sign up page!

More to come!

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” -William Feather