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Most will have heard how my travel plans were crushed already, but for the livejournal crowd I'll give a summary anyway.

I woke up early in Birmingham and took the airport shuttle to the Delta terminal. Check in and security went smoothly, and I killed an hour waiting for the flight. We were boarded on time, but around takeoff time the captain got on the com and informed us that a "flat spot" had been found on one of the plane's tires. And since the airport didn't have its own maintenance and instead contracted out, it would be an hour before maintenance crews even arrived to look at the tire.

We were allowed to disembark the plane. Back at the terminal, chaos ensued with over 100 people looking to rebook flights and only two representatives to help everyone. The whole reason for my early flight was to make it to the evening funeral service. When I realized that no one here would be able to help me, I ran downstairs to the rental car counter, explained my situation, and was given a rental car for the low low price of $160 for a two hour drive (thanks for nothing Avis). Halfway to Atlanta I realized I would not make my connection, and quickly called Delta to book a later one. Upon arriving at the airport, I realized that even for this connection I'd have to run to the terminal. But before that, my Aunt called to let me know that a massive winter storm was moving in and that I shouldn't travel if I didn't want to get stuck in New Jersey.

That was that. I chose to throw in the towel. Got a hotel near the airport and spent the day trying to calm down and reflect on my Obachan's life on my own.

I was so happy to see Jameson the next day. He's such a great supportive boyfriend...really, I don't know what I'd have done without his support.

We drove to a hotel in Greenville, ate dinner at a Mexican place, and just chilled. On Tuesday morning the train was spotted, so we got groceries and headed over. It was still pretty early in the day, so I chose to catch the bus to the arena and from there walked to some of my favorite spots in this gorgeous city!

Greenville is a favorite stop for many circus folk. It's a quiet little town with a lot of unique features. To get from the arena to the Main St., I like to walk through Springwood Cemetery adjacent. It's in a hilly area and there's a beautiful view. That's the arena off to the right. (PS you can click on this photo to see a larger version)

Once through the cemetery, it's just a block or two to Main St. Near the corner is an award-winning, small batch moonshine distillery called Dark Corner. I went inside and was pleasantly surprised to see that the store now offered more products, like t-shirts, shot glasses, and even Christmas ornaments! They no longer make absinthe or gin, but they offer homemade mixers (currently pumpkin, cranberry and apple for fall/winter). I got a sampler pack for Jameson and a bottle of the Carolina Peach for myself.

You can see where the moonshine is distilled. They've also added little markers explaining each step in the fermentation process.

Next stop, Mast General Store! Straight to the back for the candy section :)

They've got barrels of old-fashioned and modern candies. I carefully picked out a few. I say carefully because it was hard not to just grab handfuls of candy and dump 'em in a bag! Some for me, and some that I thought Jameson would like :)

Shopping done, I decided to head back to the train to rest and do some chores.

Opening day, a typical day. During the meeting in seats it was revealed that an uninvited passenger had to be removed from the train during transit (I suppose this is the modern day version of redlighting). Apparently you CAN bring guests on the train to travel with you between cities, but for obvious reasons you REALLY need to ask permission!

On Thursday Jameson and I got a pleasant surprise. His friend Bridie was in town with Wicked, and she arranged for us to sit in the pit for their afternoon show!


As you can see we are under a safety net, and under the "clockwork dragon". From the pit you can't see much on stage, but that's ok! I've always wanted to see what it's like to be in a Broadway pit. Go figure, it's like any other performance space :P Although I couldn't look at the trombone books (I was seated next to one of the keys) I got to hear everything that was played. Some pretty awesome stuff in there for brass. Maybe one day I can play it too!!!

After the show, Bridie brought us backstage to see some of the props and costumes. Like the Lion King, Wicked hangs many of their larger staging items from the ceiling. They also have their own custom-built stage that travels with them. There were many complicated-looking tracks and foggers built into the stage. Bridie told us that for the fog effects, someone is actually hired to dump dry ice in a water bucket in every city! Unreal!

Bridie showed us some of her costumes and let us hold them. They were VERY heavy! How do people dance in those?? We found out that the person who designed their costumes was the same person who designed the costumes for the Fully Charged Ringling show. Small world! We saw Glinda's wands and crowns, some of which are Swarovski and cost thousands of dollars, others of which are rhinestones and can be thrown or dropped as needed. We saw the massive crane used to lift Elphaba into the sky at the end of the first act; it had a C-shaped cinch that she leans into until it secures around her waist. Probably the most impressive thing that we saw was the collection of wigs, all made of real human hair. Good grief! The characters' hairstyles look impressive from the audience, but up close you can really see how the amazing shapes are structured using inner frames and (I'm sure) tons of product. Bridie told us that the ratio of stylists to performers is 1:2. WOW.

After the tour Jameson dropped me off at the arena while he and his friends grabbed dinner. I'd have gone with them, but I'm taking an audition over this train run and thought I should run through my material. Even though it's way too late to improve upon anything. Our evening show went well. Good audiences here in Greenville :)

Friday was a split day. Bridie came to our morning show and sat with Jameson on the bandstand. She got a great video of the elephants!

After the show Brett, Jameson and I had "media training". Basically you volunteer to learn how to respond to common questions and conduct yourself in a PR interview. It was pretty straightforward. Stuff like, "don't lie", "don't refuse to answer" and "keep a positive, open disposition". Brett has already done jillions of PR interviews, so it was old hat for him. Here are the guys reading the instructions and sharing photos from Mexico with one of the trainers.

Afterward we were given a little lunch box for participating. Awesome!

When we were finished, I stuck around the building to practice some more. I found a nice room and got everything set up, and played for about an hour. I'll probably regret that tomorrow :P

Then I went for a little walk to a local coffee shop, and played some Ingress on the way.

Once again, our evening show was just fine. Koji (BMX) is out with a fractured hand :/
Bummer! Get well soon Koji!!

Around midnight the power went out on the train for about twenty minutes. It's amazing how cold one's room can get in such a short span of time. We waited patiently and train crew was soon able to restore power, but it did remind me that last winter we had frequent power outages, and I should take steps to be prepared for this winter in case it's the same.

Saturday was a typical three show day. During the last show when the cannon pyro went off, the fuse came flying in my direction (still on fire) so during intermission I grabbed it, just out of curiosity.

Everyone is getting ready for a big Super Bowl party on Sunday night at the arena. Brett and Tim are gonna make chili and other stuff, and there's even a little betting going on for various aspects of the game (who will win, who will throw the whole game, etc). Our dressing room is in one of the suites and is a perfect location for the celebrations :)

After our two shows I had to drive to Jacksonville for my audition. I can tell you right now I won't even get to the final round (have never placed in an orchestra audition) but this is "good experience" and whatnot. If you've ever done a classical music audition you probably know what I mean. And if not...believe me, you've got to practice auditioning too!

Next stop Greensboro NC, where I hope to meet up with family and friends!!

Other stuff:

Wanna win $5000 AND be known as the person who wrote Ringling's theme song??? You can! Feld Entertainment is holding a Ringling Jingle Competition! CLICK HERE to learn more!

Applesauce got a beautiful shot of the arena with his drone.


Jameson and Tom playing cards.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 3rd, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC)
That totally sucks about the plane, I hate how often stuff like that happens. It's not right. Only frequent fliers seem to get better treatment. Here's a little friendly birthday wish though:

Thank you so much for continuing to share your adventures and worldwide travels!
Feb. 4th, 2015 01:32 am (UTC)
Awww thanks for the card!! Super cute <3

Thank you for reading :)
Feb. 4th, 2015 08:00 pm (UTC)
The drone shot did look amazing and as you know...my Superbowl experience was nowhere near as good as yours. I'm hoping someone put it up on youtube by now....
Feb. 5th, 2015 07:40 pm (UTC)
Did you write about Super Bowl in your blog? Which post?
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )