Well my vacation sure went by quickly, and I am back on the boat, the Brilliance of the Seas. My first run of the shows has been a rough one. The music on this boat is a LOT harder than it was on the Jewel. The range is higher (ahh!), I play a lot more often, and I am featured quite a bit. I think this will be a good experience for me, even though it may be painful at times. The musical director, Mr. David Bentley, is a pretty firm man. He takes his job very seriously, and really holds us all to our very best at all times. The band here is very professional, maybe they are not as much fun as the Jewel but they definitely play very well individually and as a whole. At first Mr. Bentley made me extremely nervous, one because I have to sit right next to him, and two because he just has that ora to him. But now I can see he has a soft side, but he also knows when it is time to get down to business and tell you to clean it up!
I have made sure to focus my energy and time on learning the shows and working hard, but I have been able to get out a little bit when time allows. So far I have eaten pizza in Sicily, a Gyro (Paid with Euro’s) in Athens, Greece, and seen the Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt (picture above).
The Pyramids were amazing! It is truly mind-blowing to see these huge structures and believe that they were made by man and not with huge gas powered machinery. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most fun for me because I thought a bunch of the guys in the band were going. I guess I misunderstood, because I think they just told me that I SHOULD go, not that they were going. Oh well, I saw it and can always go again if I like.
It was also pretty fun to ride a camel. We had to wait to find a “trusted camel guide.” Some guides will have you hop up on their camel, then they wont let you down untill you pay them a ridiculous amount of money. A lot of the vendors were like this, they would try to give you something for free and then ask you for a “tip.”
It was interesting to drive around the cities, because almost every mile there was a military police official or three standing around with a large rifle in their hands. I wonder if this is just a sign of power or if they actually use these weapons often. I was not sure if I should feel safe or in danger. This is definitely something you don’t really see in the states.
My goals for my 3 months on this ship are to continue to improve my range, so I can do my very best on the shows. Also to continue to find a good balance of classical practice and jazz/pop/entertainment practice. Just today in Barcelona I passed a huge opera/orchestra hall, I am going to attempt to see them perform and possibly get a lesson from their trumpet players. Lately I have really been craving classical music’s harmonies, to sit in an orchestra and just play. Before my parents would always tell me to do jazz or popular music, but now I see upfront just why I chose classical playing. Everything has its ups and downs, and as long as my tone doesn’t wilt away in the next three months I should be able to resume when I go back home.