9/17/14- 7:30 p.m.
Today many of us from the show went to Jungle Island, a wild animal park not far at all from the tent.
Many thanks for our complimentary tickets go to Dwayne Cunningham, a former Ringling clown, who is better known to Jungle Island patrons as Doc Wasabi.
I went to the park with Ryan and his family, and when we arrived Dwayne began giving us a great and informative tour.
One of our first stops was over at the petting zoo, where we saw two HUGE tortoises. Dwayne told us that one of them was in her nineties, and the other was over one hundred years old!
Next Dwayne took us into a pen with baby kangaroos, and he allowed us to feed them grapes. For me, that experience was the highlight of our visit to Jungle Island.
There are three shows that you can watch when you visit Jungle Island, and thanks to Dwayne's scheduling, we were able to catch all of them.
The first was a bird show, which I really enjoyed. The best part was seeing the wide variety of birds brought out, some of which I had never even heard of before!
Next we caught the Doc Wasabi show, where Dwayne and his assistant, Becca, brought out a variety of animals, including a kudamundi (which was placed on my head), a monitor lizard (which licked Ryan's face), and a ring tailed lemur (which ate a grape off of Claire's head).
It was fun seeing how Dwayne translated his experience from years as a Ringling clown into his current job as humorous host of a wild animal show.
After the performance Dwayne and Becca gave us a backstage tour of the Doc Wasabi show. We got to meet an umbrella cockatiel, a big porcupine, and we even got to hold an adorable kinkajou.
Awww. He's got my eyes.
After our backstage tour we were just in time to catch the third and final show in the park, which was an educational performance about baby tigers. There was also a baby liger (bred for their skills in magic) and a couple of primates thrown in for good measure!
In the early afternoon we bid Jungle Island adieu to visit the beach. There is one at the park, but currently it is only open on the weekends.
Since Ryan had promised Nico that we would be visiting a beach, we drove a few miles over to South Beach to have some fun in the sand and surf.
We were only able to visit for a couple of hours before we got rained out, but Nico had an absolute blast.
I was happy that we got such a full, fun day in before our show in the evening.
Dwayne and his crew came to the show, and afterwards we gave them a backstage tour as a thank you for the great day we had at Jungle Island.
9/18/14- 7:30 p.m.
This afternoon I started learning a new song on the trumpet for an act we will be performing on the Christmas tour this winter.
It took me a little while to get back in the swing of playing the instrument; I hadn't even picked up my trumpet since the music gag was cut in Brownsville back in March!
Our friend, Kenny Mikey, a Ringling Clown College grad who we worked with in China six years ago, came to visit tonight....with a bag of candy! (Really, isn't that how all friends should visit?)
Kenny watched the show tonight, along with Ron Hoffman, another former Ringling clown, and some of his co-workers from the Miami unit of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit.
When I walked backstage to get into make up for the show, I saw that our two bottles for the water gag were standing alone by our props. Both were almost completely devoid of water (I had filled them both earlier in the afternoon), and one had a big jagged piece of plastic missing from the top.
I quickly called Ryan and asked him to grab our last spare bottle from my trailer.
We used to be able to find the carafes that we use for the act from Walmart, but once we left Texas we were no longer able to find them, hence us being on our last spare.
Thank God for Walmart's website! We should have more in time for opening night in NYC.
We had a fantastic audience for the show tonight. Enrique Santos, a former well known radio personality who now has a television show (similar to Jerry Springer's, so I was told), was our special guest.
When Enrique came out before Intermission to do his guest spot, he started yelling "Hola!" to one side of the audience and then the other, just like we did in the water gag.
As soon as we were offstage, Ryan said, "That guy is stealing our material!"
On our way into the dressing room, Mario came behind us and said, "I can't believe that guy is stealing your material!"
Ryan and I both laughed and told him that Ryan had just said the same thing.
A few minutes later I got a text from Teo saying, "That guy stole your material!"
Great minds think alike.....
Kenny, Bill, Ivan, and Ron
Enrique even stole Kenny's pose! That rascal!
After the show Ryan and I had a great time catching up with Kenny. A lot has happened for all three of us since we worked together at the International Clown Festival in Shanghai, China!