UPDATE 01: Vienna
It's been more than a week since we started our journey in Europe.
It has been really busy.
It has been fun.
It has been quite overwhelming.
Though our Viennese days were short, it was definitely memorable.
From now on, I will try as much as I can updating everyone about dad's tour here on his blog.
We left Bangkok just after our premiere. We hurried all the way through from packing to running to the gate. I even wonder how we managed to do that until today.
We left Bangkok with 9 people and 16 bags.
With a blink of an eye, we arrived safe and sound in Vienna. I say this because we really had no time to rest at all that I slept straight through our 10 hours flight.
Vienna airport probably had one of the most efficient passport control in the world. As soon as we get out of the plane, it was there even before the toilets. I know. Me too, I thought I was going to wait forever. But to my surprise, it was one of the fastest passport control I have ever gone through.
We were very fortunate that the Royal Thai Embassy in Vienna helped us organize our first concert here in Europe. The Embassy kindly sent two vans to pick us up with our bags. Without this, it would have taken us forever to arrange taxis or vans to go to our hotel.
Thanks to our dear coordinator -- p'Sun -- was so kind to let us rest at his flat before we could check-in to our hotel in the afternoon.
What did we do after our 10 hours flight?
We headed straight away to St. Stephen's Cathedral knowing that this would be our only day we could do a bit of tourism here in Vienna. Then, we walked around the area and visited St. Peter's church. With a mass that was being held at the time, we only managed to see from afar the exquisite beauty of this church. We spent our quiet time praying and slowly walked back to the flat.
Our quick walk around the Stephansplatz really brought back a lot of memories of dad's tours when I was younger. So, we went to Aida to buy some Apfelstrudel for old time's sake. Everything still looks so delicious there.
Our afternoon went by quickly with our check in at the hotel, a quick rest, and then a quick preparation for the dinner at the Thai ambassador's residence. We were so grateful to have been invited for such an occasion as well as to have an opportunity to meet and get to know everyone at the Embassy as well as the visiting delegation before our concert the following day.
We got up early to prepare ourselves, pack all our concert dresses, costumes, electronic equipments, and Taphon. Then, we're ready for a whole day's preparation of our first performance in Europe.
We went to Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, our venue, to prepare everything from 10 am. To our surprise, the wall on one side of the hall was all covered in mirrors. If you have already seen our performance, this is quite tricky for us, as we do have an act where some dancers would have to change on stage. So, how did we work with this? We just turned some chairs away from the mirrors and changed our position in dancing and voila!
Dad and Łukasz went straight to their practice. In the first half, dad was practising, while Łukasz was preparing his drum set. They both seemed very focused in their own areas that it seemed like they were on two different stages. Dad was completely engaged with his music. Łukasz was focused on setting his various small instruments as well as tuning the bigger drums. As dad finished his first half of the programme, Łukasz was ready to go through "The Prodigal Son Suite" with him as well as the dancers that have just finished laying out all their costumes and accessories.
We spent some time going through the whole piece and then we headed for lunch.
P'Sun was there with us throughout our intense morning of work. He helped us prepare everything as well as got us lunch boxes ready even before we finished our rehearsal!
With our full tummy, Loog Tan had a wonderful idea for a photoshoot. It's been a dream of us since our travel to Singapore in June to take some photographs in front of Swarovski shop. And so we went!
We got all dressed up and went to Stephansplatz again for the shoot. As you can imagine, we were a bunch of people wearing our full likay dresses in the middle of a shopping street and the most iconic landmark of Vienna, St. Stephan's Cathedral, a lot of people were just looking at us at first. Then, the tourists start taking photos. Then, the locals start talking to us. It was a great experience. We met people from everywhere and our likay dresses were glittering in the sun in front of Swarovski as well. People start coming towards us more and asked about the performance that evening. The sweetest thing was the hear how much people tried to tell us of what they know about Thailand and the good memories they have of our country.
After our quick photoshoot, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the performance.
We jumped to our dinner and got ready.
The performance went smoothly. I was so nervous to see everyone's reaction to the performance. Many people came up to me afterwards and told us of how touched they were by the story of "The Prodigal Son" and its performance. Some of them told me that they almost cried! They were also so impressed by dad's strength. At his age, to be able to play such a programme for this long, they were all asking for his secret in good health :P
I suppose you just have to play the piano? :P
We were so grateful that a lot of our old friends in Austria came to see the performance. They were coming from everywhere around the country and it was so great to see them again. We were so touched that they came and support us. I cannot name everyone here as the list would go on and on. But I'd like to thank all of them for all their support on my family's behalf. You know who you are and we love you.
This is my quick update of our Viennese days. The next day, we got up and left to the airport right away.
I wish we had more time. Our van passed through the palaces and museums that we didn't visit.
In deed, this shall be for next time :D