Blame Canada? I think not.

I’m not going to lie— after seeing Japan, I wasn’t too pumped about traveling to Canada. Why is it that we Americans always talk about Canada like it’s a weird relative that everyone avoids at family gatherings? The dislike is irrational – Canada is not going to get drunk at Christmas, crack lame jokes, nor tell inappropriate stories about your aunt.

We flew from LAX to Vancouver on Thursday and took a bus to the River Rock Casino and hotel. Everything in Vancouver seems to be under construction or planning construction in preparation for the Olympics coming, and the River Rock was no different. Construction or not, it was nice for the first show to be staying in the same building as the theater. Our first two shows were in Richmond and Coquitlam, and both were in casinos. The shows went well – it took me a few tries to get used to Canadian currency instead of yen, but Canadian money is color coded – fives are blue, tens are purple, twenties are green, fifties red – so it’s really intuitive. I found myself thinking, “Why don’t they do this everywhere?” They have two-dollar coins, too, which I like.

We were given quite a bit of money in meal vouchers for our stay at the casinos, and they were not redeemable for cash, so for the first time ever I had room service send me a steak. When in Canada, eh? I felt like a celebrity – all of the room service guys were like, “We really enjoyed the show, Miss Hartmann. Are you enjoying your stay?” like I was a celebrity. I felt guilty and had to sheepishly tell them I wasn’t a star in the show – just the merch girl.

Yesterday I got to do another workshop, this time with Samantha Hasthorpe. I highly, highly recommend taking her workshop if you get the opportunity – her combinations are so original and there is a lot of material that can help if you’re in a choreography rut. I got to meet Martina of Bellyfringe Bellydance, which was really neat since we’ve been friends on tribe for a really long time. So far I have met tribe friends Gabby from the D.C. area and Ashley Bennett and Natalie Brown from Columbia, S.C. whilst touring.

Currently I am on the ferry to Nanaimo with Brian, our sound engineer. It’s a one-and-a-half hour ferry ride to get there, and Brian and I were sent ahead of the girls with the merch and the luggage. The ferry is pretty incredible – it’s huge, and the view is so beautiful. There are restaurants, bathrooms, work stations… it’s like a mini mall on a boat. I am really enjoying Canda – the air feels so clean, and everywhere you look there are tall evergreens and beautiful flowers. We definitely picked a good time to see the Vancouver area.

Even though I have been excited to get to see new places, I am definitely ready to go home and get to work on marketing my dancing and working on some pretty exciting projects back in Columbia. One more show, two more flights, and I’ll be back in Columbia on Wednesday.

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