bicycles and beachtrips on planet circus

October 1, 2008

Next day. Skype home and then back to bed for a while to catch up some sleep and take it easy. We make contact with Nate and meet him for a ride through Red Rock scenic route on bicycles. He is the cycling guru and teaches us as well as providing life saving advice as to which bike and what it needs. The ride through the landscape I have described before is grueling for the first five miles. Mostly up hill. I end up walking and pushing the bike a fair amount. Daniel and Nate (on gearless bikes nogal) just seem to cruise up. Lance Armstrong would have looked at me with disdain. I’m kind of glad Janet wasn’t there to see it. After a while on each hill, which seemed endless, there came a time when my legs were hurting so much I thought ‘I am not enjoying this any more, so buggar it I’m gonna walk.’ Nate politely and generously goes slowly which must have been agony but there he was. Then having got to the highest point we flew down the second half free wheeling at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Daniel with is hands off the bars and acting like he was in the wind tunnel, me clutching the handlebars for all I’m worth but flying anyway. Really exhilarating speed. What a thing the bicycle is as an invention. Thirteen miles of well tarred road and scenic beauty took up the afternoon. All hail to Nate the cycling guru and thanks to him for leading the expedition. We head and then leave home determined to get in another flight and so collecting Nikia, of the wardrobe department with whom Daniel has struck up a friendship, we head on off and find the place closed because of inactivity. ‘Closed on account of inactivity’. What the…?! we are here to provide some activity so don’t close. But anyway Nikia directs us to an excellent Thai restaurant and we have a very good meal there. Fried noodles and tofu with chilli garlic and basil and couple of Thai beers and off home.

Then today after Skype home, wake Dan and we get ready and leave twelvish so we can fly then get to work for a warm up and training before the week’s performance regime starts. The flights are great. Me a slightly tense for some reason. Second flight relaxed and each time we get better. Ability to hover in stillness then turn and lift and drop and forward flips improving. We are becoming hooked again. Daniel is flying really well. Great body position relaxed and finding excellent control. Then we have a meal and get to work for the start of the week. Thursdays seem okay not too difficult. perhaps we still have the energy of the weekend. I find Friday’s the second day of the week harder. But two pretty good shows.

Had second session of Korean rope training. Two ropes hang from the grid above the stage. The technique requires one to wrap the rope around ones legs ankles and feet in such a way that one leg takes the weight while the other reaches up for the next step. The arms merely control. The ropes are controlled by a partner who holds the ends and alternately provides tension and release on each rope by pulling on them so that by engaging the tension on each leg, one is able to climb swiftly up the rope as though it were a ladder. The advanced form of descent involves swinging upside down and then controlling one’s upside down descent with one’s legs… diving earthwards hands free. With the angle of the feet one applies or releases tension on the ropes and footwear to make the descent as nose-friendly as possible.

Second time started to get the rhythm and timing and action and physical alignment and coordination of which hand and which leg. Real fun.

So then; next weekend. Cirque has organized a weekend away to Laguna beach California for the company. Kind of bonding experience. Cheap rates at a very nice hotel Surf and Sands on Laguna beach. My first visit to California besides the brief interlude during our drive to Death Valley. First time in the Pacific Ocean. We leave on the bus at 12.30 on the Monday night after the show. Already the bottle of Chivas Regal has been dented by Eugene and particularly by Valerie the Ukrainian and Uzbeki members of the dressing room. However there is still enough to serve these two South Africans. The bus is pretty raucous but Daniel lends me his mp3 player which has Rage Against The Machine’s first album which I haven’t heard for a long time. I plug in and am transported. Head banging my way through the Nevada desert through California and all the way to the coast. Apparently the bus becomes all the more raucous but I miss it all and wake up at the hotel.

I find a bed and collapse and sleep for an hour or so in the early morning and then wake up to find the beach waiting. I go and spend the day there with growing numbers of the company; swimming, drinking, playing some decidedly average volley ball, getting sun burnt, doing a couple of assisted flick flacks in the sand and lounging about. The day in other words is well spent. Also some few hours floating and swimming in the Pacific Ocean,. Is it much more saline than the Indian or Atlantic? Because my body is a lot more bouyant here. Either way a really swell time is had. In the evening there is a cocktail party, but by this time I have had too much sun, too little food and too much drink and so soon after eating from the average menu I flee to bed and collapse, while the rest of the company moves on to the reggae bar and parties til the early hours.

I am thus advantaged in the slightly later early hours of the morning and take a walk on the beach. Laguna reminds me of Knysna with it’s wealth and larney houses built on the surrounding hills. The beachfront is totally built up but the beach itself pretty nice. The morning is misted over with fog which burns off only around midday and then the sun is pleasantly culinary. We spend the second day also on the beach and next to the hotel pool and then at 4.00 pm get on the bus for the ride home. This is filled with party games some of them drinking, but I am plugged into my own mp3 and the ride passes very pleasantly. We arrive back in Vegas come 9.30 or so that night and then have the evening and morning to recover before tonight’s shows.

Have a great conversation with Sylvia the Brazilian actress and theatre maker who plays Eleanor Rigby. I discover she has been running a theatre group in Rio for thirty years. A group working an area adjacent to one worked by Augusto Boal. I tell her of Janet and Ubom and today she gives me a book in Portuguese about the group. Hombu. Inspiring.

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