Saturday, May 24, 2008


santana is playin in our hostel lobby. the music here has been diverse. from hard had metal to peter paul and mary, and pretty much everything in between. oh, berlin!

berlin. our first real day in berlin we rose at a reasonable hour, not too early and not too late, and breakfasted here in the hostel lobby. not half bad for three euro. then a wander to alexanderplatz, a fairly busy and hip part of berlin. we grocery shopped and wandered. natalya found shoes for her mom. it was lovely. we sat and snacked while watching a man make giant bubbles in the middle of hackeshermarket. those same bubbles were chased and popped by two small small boys with that small small boy sort of unbalanced run.

at three we stood at the appropriate place to go on a walking tour. our guide was heather. we loved heather. HEATHER! WE LOVE YOU! heather was and is a young girl from pennsylvania with a masters in german history who has fallen in love with berlin, and now lives here in between masters and phd years. she is rosy-cheeked and has a mouth that reminds me of alison pelensky's. the tour was somewhere around 3 and a half hours, and we saw many important berlin sights including checkpoint charlie, the wall, the reichtstad, etc. heather was wonderful and knew lots. natalya and i spent a lot of time up front with her while we walked asking her questions about moving to europe, property in berlin, her favorite berliner habits, etc. can't say it enough. heather was great. we asked her, near the end of the tour, where she would recommend we eat, and she told us of her favorite restaurant which happened to be very near our home base. perfect! we were right tuckered and hungry by the time we sat down in the cute litte (fairly packed) restaurant. our waitress was small and had very finely toned arms. we ordered two pints. we ordered two entrees, both heather's suggestions, and shared the two. the food arrived. we didn't say much for about 4 minutes. then the food was gone, and we could talk again. it. was. awesome. we were full. oooof. still, we figured we hadn't done much eating out, so we had best do it right. so we ordered a coffee panacotta and a bottle of sparklin wine. we left so full we could hardly breathe. back at the hostel we decided to have one more beer before bed. we chatted and laughed, and when i went to the washroom natalya got us jagermeiser shots. Oh! Jokes!

we were attempting to take a self protrait photo of us with the shots, a girl came along and offered to take it for us, and ould we like to join her at her table. she gestures to the table behind us with many a young person with beer. we do join them. they are mostly canadians. a few australians. let's see how many names i can remember!

lindsey. boy. from clagary. living in montreal. very nice fellow.
mike. from montreal. with his girfriend. who's name i can't remember.
brett and brennan. australians. funny boys. a bit young and uncouth, but harmless. brett is being stalked by a young german girl. he is terrified. it is funny.
chris. oh, dear young thing! british. very nice fellow too. he and brett tried to explain cricket to me.
kirk. toronto i think? or something like that.
erin. girl. australian. kind eyes and smile.

that's all of them i think. we hung out and drank and laughed, and agan were fast friends in the way you are in a hostel. a group of them are sitting just to my right as i right this. brett has just run away to hide as the german girl is wandering about. funny.

next day! again a reasonable get up. not too early not too late. two boys from australian have taken up the empty beds in our room, and we meet them at breakfast, and they decide to join us on our trek out to the concentration camp north of the city. they are tim and adam. tim makes swimming pools and adam makes jewelery. he is apprentacing and everything. they are friendly and nice and we are happy to have them along on the 45 minute s bahn ride. there are many jokes.

we also encounter a british couple who have seen more of both canada and australia than the four of us combined. they help us not miss our train switch. we like them.

it is hot and blustery when we reach the camp. we are thirsty and tired. which seems appropriate, and feel guilty even thinking about complaining about it. we get the personal audio guides and spend the next few hours walking the grounds and looking and thinking. it is a difficult experience, but a good one. i am glad and quite exhausted when we leave.

after a rest and a clean up we head for the deustche oper berlin. a newish work is being performed. sung in german. subtitled in german.

where do i begin to explain this opera? well. first off. i haven't got even the smallest incling as to what it was about. sometimes i would come up with something that seemed rather reasonable, but then theyd throw in something completely insane, and i'd be lost again. it was certainly visually stunning though. breakdown:

NO! i only have 5 minutes of internet left. this will have to wait!!!!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

train train train

good morning, sunny berlin! aren't you looking fine today!

when we left france it was raining lightly. we had an early morning train, taking most of the day, with two transfers, and arrived in munchen/munich some time around 7pm. it was not quite raining, but not quite not raining either. still, the city seemed welcoming and we decided rather quickly that we would like it. this decision was aided by a sign in the tourist infor office window which read:

'munich loves you'

aww, munich! aren't you sweet!

we wandered to our hostel, where we were told that there would be a beer tasting very shortly at the bar, ad we would be welcome to join. handy timing, us! so we unloaded in our room (meeting the first of our roomies, a brit named michelle) then headed down. there were twelve people (us included) at this tasting, plus our completely charming and wide-eyed bar tender. we made fast friends with them all. two fellows from la, chane and carrey. two boys from wisconsin, aaron and tom. two british girls, michelle our roomate, and natalie. an australian chap, owen. an american girl from an undisclosed state, nicole. and a couple who's names i never was told. we sampled three beers. a lager, a weissbier (wheat beer) and something not quite stout. all lovely. the middle was my favorite. then our new friends of the bar informed us that they were all headed to some massive german bar with much beer, and wondered if we would like to join? we would. so we did! the bundle of us wandered into the munich night.

the bar was huge. massive. all long tables of heavy wood. there was an oompa band. with a concert harp in. seriously! most of the servers wore collar shirts with vests, but some wore leiderhosen (?). we sat in the garden. it was rather packed, but we managed to jam ourselves around an empty table. a waiter came by and said

'beer? how many?'

to which we replied 'twelve!', and off he went. no size or type choice. just. beer. a short while later a man came carrying all twelve beer himself, six to a hand. i should say that these beers were not your average pint-sized beers. nay. that would've been a tricky enough carry. but instead. they were 1 litre mugs. made thick enough that a very drunken bundle of tourists could smash them together shouting 'PROUST!' and sloshing beer every which way and not break them. it was impressive. this man. these twelve mugs... we made him stand holding them as we took photos.

social times! singing! making friends with other groups in the garden! running into two girls from mads... really? yes!

we had two rounds of these insane beers and then stumbled our way home. everyone in the group made it home safely. all is well!

the next morning we slept in a smidge, getting out of the hostel just before 10. it was raining. oh, munich, you said you loved us! we found our way to a little modern art gallery, the name of which i keep forgetting. some very interesting stuff including a video about the 1972 olympics. then we figured out the underground and tram system enough to find the nymphenburgh palace: birthplace of king ludwig the 2nd. it was quite spectacular. there was the palace itself, which was not SO huge, as far as palaces go, and then there were the grounds. the park. a huge expance of green with rivers and lakes, and gardens and forrests, and some truly amazing trees. i decided, while wandering along the cold rainy paths, that of all plant life, trees are my favorites. trees win! and there were a series of small buildings around the grounds. a bathing hall. a pagodaburgh we decided was sort of the glamourous answer to the tree house. a funny little chapel made to look like a ruin.

HIGHLIGHT! in the chapel there was a side wing which had very fine old floors. and to walk on these floors you had to put on these MASSIVE slippers, over your shoes. and then the floor was uber slippery, and we had a lovely time of it! oh, we loved it very much.

we spent a good few hours wandering the grounds and buildings. we were a bit on the freezing side by the time we left, and very hungry. we bought cheese pretzels in the underground station on the way home, and it might have been the best thing either of us had ever tasted.

bought groveries. made a very fine stir fry in the hostel's tiny kitchen. ate alongside a very friendly and talkative australian woman and her eight year old daughter. then went to the lobby and ran into owen (the australian) and a fellow from toronto. we used the torontoite's computer for internet, and hung out for a while, then called it a night. we were right tuckered.

got up ealry the next morning, and packed and checked out. attempted to see st. peter's cathedral before catching our train, but there was a service going on so we looked around a swaroski crystal shop instead. then back on the train for a five and a half hour direct ride.

we sat next to an elderly german couple who spoke some english, and we chatted with them for a good portion of the ride. they were very kind and funny, and from lepzig. they pointed things out on the landscape worth seeing.

OH! back in time... highlight from the train into munich. in some small town we passed through there was a huntertwasser building at the top of a hill. i grinned for the next hour.

we arrived in berlin to sunshine! berlin! you charming devil! we walked to our hostel and got settled, then checked the email from iain gillis of 'shows worth seeing in berlin'. and lo, there was one on that very night! it was 6:49, and the concert began at 8, so we ran like crazy pants to get ourselves in order, and trained our way to postdamerplatz. there we found ourselves in a lovely square with the sony centre and many other impressive buildings. the berliner philharmonie (our destiation)was not far off and we found it without too much trouble. the concert was a string quartet playing debussy and ravel, and then they added in a pianist and solo violin for some chausson. lots of tickets left. hoooray!

no dinner, (or lunch really) so we turned once again to the pretzel to save us. and it did. blessed pretzel. these ones had butter in. they were brilliant.

and so was the hall. stunning building. the stage itself is in the round. all beachwood chairs. no bad seats in the place. beautiful light. beautiful accoustic. the quartet was charming and lovely. three men and one woman. each very much the type of instrumentalist they ought to be... the first violinist very much a first violinist, etc. the woman was the violist. she wore green. they played beautifully. the third movement of the debussy made the hair on my arms stand on end. the audience was shockingly still and quiet. it was a spectacular concert. the kind that makes me want to o home and play viola all night long.

during the intermission we had champagne. we moved up a bit closer to the stage.

the pianist was very much a pianist with bouncing wirey white hair. his page turner, a woman, matched him.

we trained and walked home very tired and very hungry, but had no luck finding takeaway food. so we went to bed instead. natalya blew a fuse in our room, but it wasn't her fault. she simply turned on her beadside lamp. apparently it sort of exploded. i was in the washroom. i missed it. in our room there is only one other girl right now. jennifer. from the states, but she lives in paris. she works as some sort of design scout or something. she is here on business.

today we are off on a walking tour in the afternoon, and something this morning, although we don't know just what yet. but we've been fed and coffeed, so we're ready for the new day and its adventures.

and it is sunny. and that is a very very nice thing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Only (the) Lyon(ely)

day two in lyon. the redeemer day. you did good, lyon. you did good.

highlight the first. the funicular (le funiculaire). you know. the tram-like vehicle which goes uphill on a cable-system? yes. that. awesome! i loved it. i giggled lots, and natalya said she was happy i was so excited... she didnt say she was embarassed by my excitement which was kind.

lowlight. magnesium water. don't. just don't.

at the top of the funicular we wandered until we found the roman theatre. lovely. they seem to use it for actual shows now. there were proper lights and everything. it was raining, but only lightly. there were many stairs. wandering out of the theatre-area there were herbs growing wild along the streets. all kinds. lemon verbena. rosemary. much much more. we pressed leaves between our fingers and identified, and were happy. this is all at the top of a hill. we walked down the hill by way of an amazing nature path. all trees and flowers and lovelyness and views of lyon. really inclredibly stunning. we found maple leaves. we found a statue of jesus.

highlight! a walkway all arched-over with roses and other wild flowers. while the bells from the stately basilica chimed noon. for nearly a half hour. truly beautiful and moving.

highlight! the grotto... wait for photos of same.

once at the bottom of the hill we went looking for a loo. we wandered into a building with signs leading to an 'exhibition'. and what should we find? a loo! and... an art show! local artists. something, i imagine, like harcourt house, but generally better quality. impressive, in fact. especially the sculpture. some of it was quite remarkable, and i really would have loved to take some home with me. i took photos instead.

then along the rĂ´ne river. a small gathering of stalls selling artisan pottery and jewellery. there was one man with knit stuffed animals that were insanely cute. i got very excited, and the man, along with his friends at the next stall, was greatly entertained by my enthusiasm. they laughed in their lovely french way.

we encountered two young men who asked us if we were british. they, it turns out, were american. from virginia to be exact. very nice and polite. they had apparently travelled quite a bit in canada, including calgary. we told them how to get to the funicular to see the roman theatre.

across to the otehr side of the river, we wandered through the sunday market right before they closed up.

highlight. a very french looking girl (in hammer pants) smelling a melon in a remarkably dignafied and graceful way.

highlight. a man trying desperately to sell us a roast chicken. natalya was tempted. very very tempted.

then to la place bellcour (a square) then back to the hotel for a rest break. all this before three in the afternoon.

we read and we napped. then out for a leisurely dinner on la rue victor hugo. outside. with the smoking french. and a bottle of very nice wine. and a desert of creme brulee (natalya) and creme caramel (me). a quick strole to aid digestion, and now home to the hotel. we leave early early tomorrow for munich.

and i have decided i very much like lyon. i am glad we came. very. the people are incredibly kind. friendly. they laugh with us as we struggle with the language, and they are patient and helpful. the air smells (usually) fragrant and soft. it is gently warm or gently rainy. it is, en fin, very nice. and i have nejoyed it very much. and now off to scary germany, where we do not speak the language, and we plan to drink beer in gardens!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Comedie Francais

remember in junior high when you had to read moliere, and it wasn't funny. (remember when i couldn't find the question mark on this french computer.) anyways. we'll come back to the moliere thing in a bit.

RECAP! after leaving ireland, i met up with harry in london town. we went to a very school show called skin and bones, which was architecture and fashion together at last! then to his flat, where his flat mates (one of whom had borrowed his key) didn't let us in, so we went and had curry and cold ones down the way. it was beautiful and hot, and i was happy.

that night at harry's was leggy-soup. or. a big big party. we hid in his room, drank champagne, and watched things like the 90 strangest crimes. it was good. outside the room was much loudness.

then. the next day. NATALYA ARRIVED!!! YAY!! things are good. she and i travel to tooting to pick up my luggage, and have lunch with harry. he teaches her about shaggy dog stories. we (less harry, who had much editing to do before monday) travel to trefalgar square where we meet up with melanie, justin, and his sister. it is still beautiful and hot. we are happy. we go to the portrait gallery. YAY! justin and his sister depart, natalya, mel and i head for patricks. the squat.

see patrick. get settled. buy crisps. plan on going out. get too tired. fall asleep on the floor of scott's (one of the squaters, a very polite fellow) floor, as there's a footie game on that has to be watched in the living room.

next day. emma comes to town. we (the ladies) meet her at paddington in the coral cafe, which is no longer the coral cafe. (and is certainly not, nor never was the choral cafe.) we go to primark. there is MADNESS! there are MANY PEOPLE, and even more STEALS OF DEALS! we do not change in the chagerooms, because of the ques, and instead try things on over our clothes in the middle of the store. risky business, but we all do rather well. i spend the least. YAY ME!

emma joins us for crisps at the squat. we change into our new clothes. emma goes to do her recording gig. mel, natalya and i take a bottle of wine and head for our pre-lord of the rings dinner. (the wine is because mel has learned that we can drink on the tube, and wants to. because we're dressed up and classy, and that is funny. we do not drink on the tube because it is fairly busy, and we feel awkward.) we find the restaurant in plenty of time, and sit in a park drinking the wine on the grass in the shade. it is lovely AND charming. we eat. we go see lord of the rings. it is funny. it is big. an orc growls at me from the edge of the row. i am scared, and don't want him to attack, so i growl back. yes. i bear my teeth at the orc. he attacks someone else. i win! we go to a pub (shakespear's head) and patrick joins us. back to the squat where we sleep in the living room as planned.

next day! mel leaves us early to fly off to venice. BYE MEL! WE MISS YOU! natalya and i pack up early and leave the squat. we walk the embankement a while, then do a fast run-through of the tate modern. good job, us! we meet emma at paddington. we train to bath.

BATH! bath is great. let's break it down quickly. this is running on.

hills. spa. teka. the cedar. (bristol.) bikes. canal path. swimming. curry. pie minister pies. pub quiz. fun!

we leave bath at 4:30am on the 16th. we bus to heathrow, then to stanstead. we fly to grenoble. we eat lunch. our waiter tells us he loves us. we see a lot of proper hobos all with dogs. one of them (the hobos, not the dogs) pees on a tree. we train to lyon. find our hotel. tada! lyon! hello! bonjour!

and that brings us to today. saturday. a proper lyon day! we learned, through our reading of maps and guide books from the hotel, that lyon is a major silk producer. cool!

this morning we figured out the metro (a good system here, too. edmonton, are you paying attention). we train to the centre of the older part of lyon. it is lovely. people are friendly. very. the opera is, indeed, sold out for tonight, so we decide to do something else. in the mean time, we track down a little silk workshop, and somehow end up in the middle of an elderly group tour. funny. we stand out. we learned about silkscreening (something i'd never thought of as being connected to silk... hey!) and about how they make the velour patterns in scarves. all very neat. and all in french. we are doing well! we are mostly keeping up!

then to la musee des beaux-arts. some really great stuff. we manage to see everything. again, we're very pleased with ourselves.

then. we eat a late lunch (holy cow, cheesiest pizza ever made...) and buy tickets to some dance show.

and here is where we come to moliere. the show was put on by la maison de danse. we were told it was dance with some theatre. we were lied to. it was not dance. there was no dance. it was terrible, terrible theatre. performed, i guess, by dancers. which means they were not actors. or singers... oh dear jesus. not singers. the play was some re-adapted thing by brecth. it was done all with those grotesque masks and obserd coustumes... you know the ones. like that potato-heads show that used to be on for kids, which i never wathced because i was scared of them. like that. and they shouted in silly voices, and it was bad. very very bad. after two hours (and no intermission) we finally left. it wasn't over... there was no end in sight... so we left. admitted defeat. and thus i have decided. that the french, or at least the french playwrights, are not funny. and we must be cautious and aware. because i will never have that 17 euro, or that two hours again. god, it was bad.

not to worry. we have another day in lyon. we have pushed back our leaving for munich to the 19th, as the only train leaves very ealry, and we wanted some more time here. especially now that it needs to redeem itself. oof.

and now. to bed!

shout outs:
mega congrats to travis for getting hired on for reals at parlee, and even more for getting into the department desired et al. you're awesome-mazing, and i'm super proud.

emma. sorry about all the changes in tense in this post. i know. i know. but i'm so tired!

Friday, May 9, 2008

end game.

yeah, yeah. i know. i'm ridiculously behind on the gossip and stories. fact is the entire choir got a brutal cold, and for the last three days we've been in various states of snotty and gross. WEEE! the best part is looking at something and thinking 'man, this is stupid, and i hate it. lame! lame!' and then saying, 'no, wait. being sick is stupid. THIS is amazing, and awesome and irish...'

and then, oh how you laugh. okay. so. i got sick too. reals sick. for reals. but i'm on the up and up. and i won't tell you about our adventures for the last few days. not just now. but instead, just the end of yesterday.

yesterday, thursday the 8th of may, was my last ever concert with the madrigal singers. the end of four brilliant, and moving, and often trying years. i was the sickest of my sickness and less than in cheery spirits on the way to the rehearsal. it was at this funny little stone cabin-lodge outside of galway, with ponies out front, and eclectic decor. i hated it upon arrival. then (as per the self-conversation above) i realized i didn't hate it at all, and it was really very quaint and charming, and it was the fever and the shaking i hated. we rehearsed, then were treated to a very nice dinner in the very room we'd be performing in. during tea jkp, justin and i sat by the wood stove (which was actually gas, but made to look like a proper wood stove. you know.) in the next room. with candles and warmth. it really was lovely and a good little rest. we changed (crammed in the bus, or in the small women's loo) then lined up outside. the room we were performing in being too small to hide us pre-concert. it was green, and chilly.

the performance room was a semi-sun room tacked on one side of the stone house. three walls were glass, looking out into a lush country-scape. we sang the concert in one row, rather that our regular two, to accommodate the small space. we stood in mixed formation, and i had the pleasure of having my dear lovely friend damon to my right. having sung with him for the full four years in mads, this was very special. my voice was far being in top form, but i managed to get through the rep coughing in between songs mostly, and never completely losing it. the highlights were singing the octet solo in seid frulich at the back of the room, with seven brilliant singers and good friends, and opening the second half in the round (surrounding the packed in audience) to sing lay a garland. i've sung this piece every year with one group or another, since i began singing in choirs and it is one i have never grown tired of. it is a joy to sing, and i am moved by it everytime, still, to this day. by this time it was dark outside, with only a few choice lights shining up on almost unbelievably green trees, and it had begun to rain. the sound of it was amazing, and for a while i completely forgot that i was sick, or that it hurt to sing, and instead just relished in the music and the place.

the audience was incredibly kind and receptive, and we sold many a cd. i was exhausted afterwards, but found energy climbing back on the bus, buzzing out of my fellow singers. the post-concert high you get, even if you think you didn't want to sing the concert, even if you think you've nothing left in you. we played madlibs, and laughed, and clapped for our tour guides. it was a beautiful ending.

today we are back in dublin, and i've just come for the very last group dinner before we all go our separate ways tomorrow. again, there was much laughing. i've enjoyed the company of people here so much, some who i was convinced coming in that i would have to murder in their sleep... it's been a pleasant surprise. i will miss these people, and this choir immensely. there are so many people who have already gone off, a few each year, whom i'm now thinking back on, remembering, missing. mads has been a warm and nurturing home for me, and i feel so blessed to have been a part of it for so long.

and now? a new choral chapter, i guess.

but don't worry. i still have to go back in time and fill you in on the time post-competitions.
AND. the travel adventures are far from done. tomorrow i'm off to london to see mr. harry man. and then natalya will be along. and. oh. so much to do!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


holy cow. i'm in killarney. i've lost my voice. it is lovely here. LOVELY! but wait... i haven't written in forever because they've kept us incredibly busy. so. back in time we go!

the competition town of cork. emma showed up and was welcomed warmly by the choir. she charmed them all. every one. damon. iain. abs. mel. len. and all the rest. good work sister. good work.

we started our festival time performing in a library for a lot of very old people and a lot of very young people. the young people were mostly boys. and they wore grey school uniforms with green crests on. we liked them. they liked us. HOORAY!

then we had a mini performance as diversion-entertainment for one of the school categories of the cork festival. three songs on the city hall stage (where we competed later.. keep reading.) they audience was largely 12 to 15 year old girls. in a variety of school uniforms. they were all pumped on performance adreneline, so they loved us. best audience ever. much screaming. oy! brilliant.

the competition itself. DUM DUM! (that's a dramatic noise. not me saying it was dumb. it wasn't. phew.)

there were fifteen choirs in the international fleischman (???) trophy competition. let's see if i can remember them all...

two from sweden. both with smocks. one highschool. one university.
three from ireland. variety of outfits. often black with accenting accessories.
germany. scarves. later at the party, blue shirts.
finland. all women. intensely patterned dresses.
switzerland. all the women wore matching lipstick. one of the men was bald.
russia. women in flowey purple disney princess dresses. many many of them on that stage. scary...
istonia(?). all women. warrior-milk-maid outfits. and a lot of blonde hair.
university of alabama. dresses similar to ours. (i'll do a drawing highlighting the differences when i have time...)
oh, oh... i'm having a hard time remembering the rest... oh...
oh. another sweden? the other highschool? is that right. oh this isn't going well.
us. u of a... um.
i'm missing two. there might be another germany? and... and???

okay. we'll come back to that later.

emma watched all the groups perform. we didn't get to see them all ourselves, as timelines were tight and they didn't want us running in and out of the theatre willy nilly. emma had a series of questions she had to answer about each choir that we missed. ask her about it maybe.

there were two sessions on the saturday, and we were at the end of the second. second half of the second session. we did rather well, but there were two fairly significant errors. ones the audience wouldn't necessarilly notice, but the joudges would. damn! we say. but it was fun. definitely fun.

sunday, the awards were announced in the evening. all the choirs in the hall, all excited. much screaming and clapping. we were awarded (or len was) the jury award for most innovative and coheisive program. yay len!

and the results?

first place, germany (scarves and blue shirts) with 91.8 percent.
sencond, sweden (sorta mauve smocks... the adult choir) with 91.3 percent
third, one of the irish with 91.2 percent.

yes. that close.

we tied for fifth. with university of alabama. (we think they got confused because we were the only two north amaerican choirs, so we sing in a similar style, are both u of a's, were the only choirs with dr. conductors, and had strickingly similar outfits. cause reall what are the chances of tieing them? slim.) we got 90.92 percent. in fourth place was the other school choir (i think sweden. they wore lots of blue and black.).

phew! it was a crazy pants time. and then the sunday evening was the closing concert, in which all of the choirs performed a few (generally) fun songs, with the pressure off. it was a load of fun.

oh. and both saturday and sunday nights there were these awesome parties. kaelis (?). but that'll have to be another blog.

man. we're so behind... sorry! eee. ireland rules.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


we sang our first irish concert last night. we sang in a small church to somewhere around 24 people. i counted while singing... which is probably irresponsible chorister behaviour. we sang like zombies. and not like the zombies in thriller. not cool zombies. we were not happening. (happenin', even.) there was a particularly special interval in 'let not my love be called idolitry'. if we were truly trying to be zombies, it would've been effective. it was scary.

but we did get an encore. phew!

higlight. pre-concert dinner. our second spectacular (and payed for...) dinner. and i was lucky enough to end up at a table with a bunch of choir girls i've not spent much time with in the past. they were an incredibly entertaining group, and we laughed hard and ate well. we spoke of the issues surrounding the choosing of bridesmaid dresses, and how strapless should not be an option. especially when your bridesmaids vary in size. (elaine is planning a wedding for this very summer.) martine gave a particularly enertaining discription of her grandfather, licorice flavoured candies, deafness, and a long car ride... highlight of the highlight? coconut crusted brie with a red berry cinnamon coulis.

lowlight. the lowest light yet. john (jkp) had his passport and credit card stolen. yes. i know. shitty to the maximum. especially as jkp is a savy and experienced traveller. he is feeling the hurt. this morning there were many concerned faces at breakfast, and we sadly had to leave jkp behind in dublin to sort things out at the canadian embacy.

we (minus dear john) had a beautiful drive through the irish countryside, spotting many a sheep lambs, even!), cow, and horse along the way. i saw seven white horses... abra saw a rabbit. tension and tiredness is beginning to take grip on the group. there was a touch more cattyness today. the grump-factor was up. (i certainly do not exclude myself from this, although abra and i did some quality interpretive dance early in the day with our heads connected by my ear-buds.)

stopped in at the rock of cashel for a tour of the cathedral ruins, and then independant lunching. our castle giude, james, was kind and humorous and had a charming way about him. it seems there are a lot of charming people in ireland. strange.

i drank too much water at lunch. far too much. i learned, far too late, that the loo on the bus was not in functioning order. i thought i was going to die. i was the cause of an emergency stop in a small town at a gas station. it was awkward. to say the least. ahem.

highlight. pulling up to the hotel in cork, who should be sitting all sunny on the patio with a pint, but mr. jkp. we all cheered and waved and were filled (or at least slightly topped up) with glee. i don't yet know the details yet, but it looks as if things have been sorted as best they can be sorted.

and. we're in cork! just about competition time! abra's hair looks great! emma arrives tomorrow! there are many exclamations!!!

oh. and bloggers. those of you with experience. i've been taking some killer photos and i'd love to share them with y'all, but i don't know how to get them from my camera to the internet machine when in an internet cafe... any suggestions? thanks. you're super.