On Thursday, it was time for us to finally go to see Totem. Greg had to be there at noon, so we all took a taxi around 11:30am. On site, Greg was able to show us around, introduce us to lots of people, and settle us in for lunch in the cafeteria.
Everyone was really warm and welcoming to us, excited to meet me and the children. We met security staff, Tour Services people, backstage technicians, and many of the artists: Nakotah, Ante, Pippo, Alya, Louis-David, Denise, Massimo, Slava, Umi, etc... many of them were already in makeup, so I hope I will recognize them later on.
Then we got out of the way so Greg could have his training and pre-show prep time. We went exploring around the old port area, there are endless things to see & do. We played in a fountain, climbed on public art, and watched street performers.
We had been put on the list for "last-minute tickets" for the 4:00pm show. Technically they won't give these out till 5 mins. after the show starts, and nothing is guaranteed. But the Thursday 4pm show had plenty of seats available, so they gave us the voucher at 3:45 and we went in. Exciting to be there early, as the kids could absorb the atmosphere in the tent, and see Daddy's pre-show "animation", when he walks around with the lizard puppet. He came right up to the kids and let the puppet nibble at them, producing squeals of excitement.
The kids loved the show, although they did begin to burn out towards the end of the 2.5 hours. Baz said his favorite was Daddy's act, Ayla said "the rollerskaters and the dancing". Later she said "I don't think Daddy is a big fan of dancing!" although we all agreed he did an excellent job of it, regardless.
Afterwards we went for dinner in the cafeteria. The World Cup is on, so someone has brought in a big-screen TV, and everyone sits around rooting for their favorite countries. Dinner that night was Japanese-themed, lots of sushi etc., not easy for the kids - they ate rice and bread. There is always bread, peanut butter and jelly, cheese, and plenty of milk and juice available, so I'm sure they won't starve. I pay for my meals, but it's not expensive - a full plate of cooked food cost me $5.
Getting home was long and challenging, since we took the bus - lots of walking on either end, and traffic, and trying to figure out the payment system, etc. - we weren't home till 8:45pm, and with baths and bedtime stories, kids weren't in bed till 9:45pm. We were all exhausted. ...the bus route home went through one of the seedier areas of central Montreal, so I got to field questions from Ayla like, "why is everyone smoking cigarettes here?" "why does that woman have pink hair?" "why does that woman on the sign have no clothes on?" Ah, city life.
Friday was our day to meet our downstairs neighbor, Alisa. She is the 5-year-old daughter of Alya, the rings acrobat in Totem. During the day Alisa is with her Russian nanny, who speaks no English, but does speak French. So I spent the day speaking French with a Russian, challenging for both of us! We visited their apartment first and played some Russian games, then went out to the park for a while, and then came back to our apartment for more playtime and dinner. At the park the kids found a pet bunny rabbit, whose owner had brought him out to run around.
Alisa is a lovely little girl - totally athletic like her circus-performing parents, but loves dolls and jewelry and dresses just as much as Ayla. I think they could be great friends - but we will see if Alisa stays on the tour, there is some uncertainty about that because her father and grandparents are in other countries, and she travels around. She speaks fluent Russian, German and English.
I was so tired at the end of the day Friday that I tucked Baz in at 9:15pm, lay down on our bedspread fully clothed, and fell sound asleep.