Friday, September 26, 2008

China Thus Far

So I know I am not good at keeping up with my blog, so I though I really need to get myself up to date at least, and fill in later.

Here I am in China now. I have been here for a month now. We started out in Xian (she-on) sitting around a seeing the sights for a good week and a half before we performed. I took a lot of time resting, since it was our first real break since we started rehearsals for Cinderella. I shopped around a lot and started to pick up the language (just a little). you know key words to get you around such as thank you (shey shey), no (boo), I don't understand (woh boo dong), don't' touch me (be-a pon wah). I've used them all!

Our hotel was close to what is called the grey goose pagoda. A very large worshiping stone thing, that was great to see. The thing I though about china before I even got here was how dirty it would be and how poor a country it would be. It exceeded all my expectations. It was more about the history. Very clean and everywhere you looked were places of history or something that had history before the states were formed. It blows your mind just to think about it that way. Ok moving on

First performance in China, of course we had subtitles and I just assumed it would be like me watching an opera in the states. They were silent a lot and I half expected it (them not to get all the jokes). It toke a lot more on my part to put forth the energy that Portia admits on stage. It feelt a little like I was working with a blank wall. But then they started to loosen up and they were more than appreciative in their applause in the end. The run in Xian was a smooth one. And after 3 weeks we left for Jen Jo. Not even close to how it's spelled but that's how you pronounce it.

Oh I forgot to mention that everyone here smokes, EVERYWHERE! So you rooms constantly smelled like smoke and hallways, and well lets just say I got a bad cold right before we left Xian and it followed me to the performances in Jen Jo.

Jen Jo, well we were only there for 5 days and 3 performances. Smokey as well, but such a beautiful hotel did we stay in. I mean gorgeous!! We had rehearsal on Sat and then 2 shows on Sunday and one on Monday. I lost my voice after rehearsal Sat night. That was scary. I went on vocal rest for most of the rest of the time there, but pulled through and made it though my performances with slight altercations. Of Course I couldn't yell at Lea full out, so you know how much that disappointed me.............LOL. No but all was well, and Lea was amazing as always.

So about 4 days ago we traveled to Guan Jo (misspelled) and here I am wandering around seeing the cites. I had a Marketing thing for Cinderella the other day. The producers took us to an ancient temple and the interviewers were going to take pic of us seeing the sights. After we were done a reporter interviewed us asking the stepsisters (brandy & I) this question. " As stepsisters it looks like you would do absolutely anything to get the prince. Do you do that in real life as well?" LOL really I just couldn't stop laughing. Guan Jo is also the culinary cap of China, so I have had some great American dishes. Mexican YES, Italian, and even a Steak with rosemary wine sauce. Oh I can't wait to buy a camera to record all this.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tal Volcano

I took one of my first day trips here in the Philippines to see the Tal Volcano. It was one of the biggest adventures is have ever done, and my first near to death experience. Here is the story of the whole day.

We started by getting up at 6:30 am to get in a taxi to catch a bus to the city Tagatay. Which is at the top of a city across from the volcano. We get to the buss station and and someone is pointing to a guy wearing a sign around his neck that says Tagatay he calls us over and says that he has a van to take us to this city (1:30hr to get there) at a price of 180 pesos per person ($3.50) we agree and get in the van. There are 2 other people in the van and we find out he has to find 2 more people to ride with us before we leave. I looked at the driver and said "if we don't leave in 1 min we are going to get out and find other means to transportation....just a heads up" We ended up getting out of a van and getting into another who drove us right away, but drove so fast I couldn't even watch. swerving around tight corners passing people. we made it there in 45 min..

so now we are in the city of Tagatay and we need to take a tricycle 30 min to the bottom of the island we were on. The tricycle looks like a motorcycle attached to a covered side car. Although we were cramped it was a lot of fun. Sara, Shawn, and I rode in the side car. While Michael, and Mat and the driver were on the motorcycle. We finally made it to the bottom where then we had to take a boat across to the volcano island. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Little did I know what was to come ahead.

Once we made it across we paid some more money to ride horses up to the top of the volcano. They were smaller than your usual horses and we had guides holding the rope walking the horse all the way to the top. Probably another 30 min. We finally got to the top, sweaty a little dirty, but the view was well worth it. At the top we could look down into the lake in the middle of the volcano. my group wanted to hike down the volcano and swim in the lake. I was hesitant but agreed to the adventure. We took about 6 guide down with us. And this is where is all happened

We started on the path (if you could even call it that) pushing through tall grass higher than my head it was pretty level for a while and then we started to go up hill. I think I yelled "aren't we supposed to be going down this thing." It was getting a little bit thicker (more jungly) and I found myself grabbing tress to help me up. when we got to the top of that section It went straight down from there, litterly. the dirt below our feet was loose and you were constantly slipping forward. It was probably at a 100 degree angle, and winding every which way. I was hold to tree for dear life. My thighs we in constant contraction. There were times I would just sit on my but and would slide down like I was on a playground slide. Although it's not as fun where your sliding on extreme hot ground with rocks and dirt. I think I was cussing a lot, saying things like. "who the F#$@ thought this was a F#$@ing good idea," and "Sorry guys but I am going to be F#$@ing cussing a lot." It was abound 4 1/2 miles down to the lake. I made it about 3/4 the way and new that If I kept going I wasn't going to make it up to the top again. I was having trouble breathing, I was constantly drinking water but I think I was having heat exhaustion. I told the rest of the group to keep going down and I would have 2 guides try to take me back up, and not to worry I would see then at the top. I rested for a while and tried to go back up. I probably walked, no was pulled up by my wrist and what energy I had, for about 2 min, before I was heaving for breaths screaming oh my god. And stopped to rest again. My 2 guides waited patiently for me and we tried again, at least to get under the shade of the jungle since we were out in open sun. I made it another 2 min before we had to stop in the shade finally. I thought I was going to throw up and pee at the same time. I told my guide I was peeing right here right now. He didn't understand me, until I drooped draws right in front of him. My legs were shaking uncontrollably, and when I was finished I just collapsed. my 2 guides broke off branches and one took his shirt off to lay on top of the branches. I laid down on them and my guide fanned my for what felt like the longest time on my life. I laid there long enough for the rest of my group to finished swimming and hike all the way back up to me. Shawn was the first to get to me. apparently when he reached me my guide he told him that his wife was laying over there in the bushes. They were all so exhausted when they reached me that we all rested for a while longer then tried to make it back up the volcano. we had to stop 3 more times. Meanwhile on every stop our local guides were taking smoke breaks.LOL. When we got to the top part right before it started to go down, they had brought us some horses to take the rest of the way back. I was so thankful. We made it back and hugged each other for a long time, we were covered head to toe in dirt, it was hot and sweaty but we all knew we had accomplished something. We took the horses down, the boat back, the tryc up and a buss home and finally and taxi to the hotel to get back. We were scraped up some bleeding from the jungle and falling, Sara was having an allergic reaction to the scraping plants. I was more than exhausted. I took a long shower and ate dinner. That night I went to bed thinking how amazing, and horrifying that experience that was. I loved it so much but you couldn't pay me anything to ever do it again.