4:30 AM: Arrive at school, get ready to board buses. This includes a whole lot of Mrs. W blowing her stupid whistle and designated areas for baggage, carry-on, instruments, and people. Then there's a boarding order, starting with the basses and cellos, and ending with the violins and the trumpets. Yes, they even loaded the flutes and the violas before us violins! (the shame!)
5 AM: leave campus. Tired, grumpy, disgruntled, pretty excited, and very hyper, despite the tired-and-early factor. After a "rousing" speech from the bus driver regarding the toilets on the bus ('It's like a bank. You get back [in smell] what you put in plus interest.' Needless to say, the bus toilets remained unused throughout the trip). We pretty much lived off of iPods and chocolate bars for the first few hours of the trip. I fell asleep somewhere around 6:30 or so, and woke up around 8:45, Nacho Libre. Exciting, no? When we got there, we met T, our new bus driver. T is a riot. He's a big Samoan guy who tells jokes every time he starts up the bus. Well, he drove us through the wilderness of Nevada (I hope you sense the sarcasm there) and to many a fast-food stop. Meanwhile, we in Bus 2 (the 'Bigfoot Bus'), we watched Back to the Future (thankfully only the first one; I don't Madagascar 2. Of course, by then I wasn't paying much attention to the movie, since fast food and bus travel through Nevada tend to make the contents of your stomach have a sudden desire for an encore. Thankfully they didn't.
I took a nap around 4:30/5-ish, and didn't wake up until we were in California (ah, the blessed warmth!), around 6:20-ish. We
drove through Sacremento and Vallejo and through to San Francisco.
We arrived at the hotel (Embassy Suites; SOOO nice) around 7 or 7:30. We had a few minutes to get everything in our rooms (girls on the fourth floor, boys on the fifth) before pre-dinner rehearsal. The band practiced first, in one of the smaller ballrooms in the hotel. We waited by the door while they did; then we met Joe, our native tour guide (so to speak). I'm slightly chagrined to admit that at first I took him for a strange homeless man who just happened to be telling us that the pizza would arrive in less than fifteen minutes. What can I say; my brain doesn't really function when I've been up for that long (I hadn't even slept the night before). So after pizza, we had sectionals for orchestra practice while the band went up to bed (lucky bastards). Rehearsal was somewhat difficult due to the fact that the sectionals were all in one room and we had no music stands, but we got through rehearsal until 9, when Mr. D (orchestra teacher) let us go for the night.
9 PM: Up to bed. Five girls in one room and one shower. It was interesting to watch everybody else argue over shower times. Smartly, I stayed on my bed (Ha! I got my own) and watched Law and Order and a bit of Burn Notice (one of the first things T.--see second picture at the top--did was check the TV to make sure in had USA. Smart; very smart.
10 PM: Lights out. We went to be quickly and quietly; a nice change from diabetes camp, where the stupid girls never went to bed. It was like pulling saber-teeth to get those girls to shut up. Thankfully, orchestra girls are much better; or maybe we were just too tired.
And that is part one of the orchestra trip. All photos are mine except the two of the hotel; these ones are nicer than the ones I'll post later. You'll see why, trust me.