24 June 2009

The Sky's The Limit!

Hello Everyone!

"The Sky's The Limit" is the perfect way to sum up this past weekend! I can't even explain how big of an accomplishment it was to jump the highest bungee jump in the world! This adrenaline filled event is something I never thought I would do. I'm getting excited just thinking about it! Jumping off the bridge took so much courage, making me feel so accomplished once I was done. It made me feel like I was on top of the world, like I can do anything I put my mind to. Here are a few pictures...enjoy!
Blourkans Bridge, South Africa
This is a group shot of all the staff and jumpers that made this experience possible! The staff is such a great group of guys! They were motivating and made the top of the bridge a party! Who would have thought loud music and natural adrenaline could be so much fun?
Here I am taking a few deep breaths right before my jump! My heart was racing so fast! Thinking about what I saw when I looked down still gives me chills!
5... 4... 3... 2... 1... BUNGEE!
Look at me fly! It was a lot faster than it looks, trust me!
I believe this was after my first "bounce" back up! The scenery was amazing!
This picture was taken by my Professor, John Carrol, from the other side of the canyon. As you can see, using the car for scale, the bridge was massive!
This picture explains it all!

We also had the chance to enjoy the Tsitsikamma National Park Ziplining Tour! This was a little more laid back, more relaxing. It was such a cool experience though! It was like flying through a canyon, overlooking waterfalls and massive rock formations!

About to do my first run!
And I'm off!
Woo hoo!

Since the sky seems to be the theme of this blog, I thought I'd be nice to show you some of the scenic sky shots I took. They were taken at various times this past couple weeks! There are so many more I wish I could show you, but again, the internet here isn't so great. Enjoy!
From the cottage we stayed at during our two-day hike
These two with the pink-purple skies were actually taken right on my balcony! The beach (on the top photo) is to your right. I love it!

Tsitsikamma National Park
Just outsdide the New Brighton Township

Well, the internet cafe is about to close! I'm going to have to cut this one short! I hope you enjoyed this post! I'm off to Cape Town for the next six days! I miss you all! When in doubt, just remember... The Sky's the Limit!

Until next time,

19 June 2009

Picture Perfect!

Kings vs. Lions Rugby Game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium: This game was a blast! We met so many people, had great seats and cheap drinks! What more can I ask for?
British and Irish fans are crazy! I took this just after the game as we were walking back to our transport. Even the atmosphere outside of the stadium was awesome!
Just hanging out with some lions. No big deal! This was taken at the Seaview Lion and Game Park. I must admit, one of the best experiences of my life.
My buddy Anathi during homework club. He was a bit shy at first, but eventually came around. His dream is to one day be an artist!
Masifundi Homework Club, Walmer Township: This is where we do some of our community service for our Service Learning Course! I love it!

Having a beer with some of my travelmates!
This is a Giraffe at the Kragga Komma Game Park. We saw so many animals, it was mind boggling! I'll post more up when I get home!
CSUF Titans: Emily, Sarah, Kevin, Nick, Christine, Me, Marci and Andy
Sarah and Emily doing some partner yoga during our break from the hike!
A shot of me at the end of our killer tw0-day hike! Don't laugh at the socks! After the first day of the hike, my legs had so many scratches and rashes! I learned my lesson and put some long socks on!
Can you say, "King of the Jungle?" - enough said.
A shot of the amazing sky! Taken at the beach in front of my accomodations! I swear, the skies here are like a canvas, painted differently everyday!
One of the many amazing sunsets!
Group shot with Winni, Marnis, and Charlie Brown (dog). We spent the weekend at their farmhouse, which was about three-hours from where we stayed. They were such great hosts!
A visit to the African Instrument Factory in Gramstown! Beautiful music! I loved it when they played some songs from the Lion King and Red Red Wine!
This photo was taken at a the New Brighton Township just outside of Port Elizabeth. Unfortunately, there are thousands and thousands of people who live in places just like this. I can't even describe my experiences walking though it.

As we were walking through the township, many people would come out of their homes to see what's going on. They wanted to get a glance at these foreigners. This little girl in particular caught my attention. She's holding a little boy I'm assuming is her brother. Who knows?

One thing that stood out in the township was the happiness of many children. They would come up to us, eager to get a picture taken, sing us songs, and give us high fives! Despite their horrible living conditions, kids will be kids!

If I remember correctly, this mean life and love. This little boy was pretty awesome!

Again, this trip as been a blast! We've done so much these past three weeks and have much more planned! We're headed to Tsitsicama to Bungee Jump the highest jump in the world, Jefferey's Bay for the day, six days in Cape Town, then a weekend at the Grahamstown Arts Festival! I wish all of you were here to experience this with me!

Until next time,

04 June 2009

Molweni! Ninjani?

Igama lam nguAlvin. NdiFunda e NMMU. Ndihlala e Bhayi e Summerstrand. Ndicela iti ikofu eshushu? Nxeda apha!

Looks like my first week of my isiXhosa (one of the local African languages) class has paid off! For those of you who might not know the language, it translates to: Hello everyone! How are you? My name is Alvin. I’m currently studying at NMMU. I stay in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth. I am thirsty; may I have some hot coffee? Help here!

I know it’s been a while since I last blogged. Man, the internet here is not nearly as convenient as at home. First off, they charge by mega bite as opposed to time, so what you do on the internet determines how long you’ll be on. Over the past few days, I’ve only had less than an hour of internet time. All three times were spent trying to upload pictures onto this blog. As you can probably already see, that failed! Every single time I would hit “Publish Entry,” the internet would stop on me. I’ve learned my lesson and pre-typed this blog entry!

Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin. This trip has been absolutely amazing. I’ve been here for a week and already have done so much!

I talked about the Kragga Kamma Game Park ride we went on a little bit in my last blog. I look through the pictures from that and still can’t believe what I saw. Just seeing all these majestic animals in their natural habitat had to have been one of the best experiences of my life. It was so breathtaking. The African skies, especially during sunset don’t even compare to how they portray it in movies. At some points in the ride, I seriously felt like I was in the Lion King. We were told that was the smallest gaming park we were going to be visiting, so you can only imagine how excited I am for the next three they have planned for us. One of them is actually this weekend during our three-day trip. It’s supposed to be a nighttime ride! I am ecstatic!

On Tuesday, we made a visit to the New Brighton Township located about ten minutes from our accommodations. A township is an area of government owned property that has homes and what looked like shacks to shelter the lower class of the population. It was very similar to the “poor” living environments they would show on TV. Honestly, there are no words that can describe what was going through my head during this visit. Just thinking about it is a bit tough. Seeing such a large group of people living in horrible conditions broke my heart. It’s really unfortunate that it’s like this. These people really have no choice. It made me think about how lucky I am to live the life I live. When talking to my roommates and others about the visit, we all agreed that there were not words that can justify how we felt. It’s weird. I never thought trying to describe something over the internet could be so hard. I’m going to let pictures (hopefully ones that will be up soon) do the rest of the explaining. Just keep in mind, what you do see on TV about the poverty in Africa is true.

One thing I loved about the visit to the township was seeing the genuine happiness of the children. As our van pulled in, children quickly ran behind it knowing there were tourists inside. My initial thought was that they were going to be asking for money of food. I was wrong. They literally just wanted to say hi. They were extremely fascinated by the digital cameras and being able to see themselves on such a “machine.” I remember one in particular. He was a small boy, maybe five or six years old. I asked him if I can take a picture of him and told him to say cheese. He said cheese for the next five minutes even if I was just looking at him, not pointing the camera.

It was just great seeing these kids smiling. Even though they don’t have the best, luxurious life, they still seemed to be happy, happier than many kids back at home.

That’s only a bit of what I have done. I wish I could share it all with you over this blog, but again, internet is horrible.

Tomorrow, we will be leaving for the weekend. We’re headed to Grahamstown. There, we will be residing with two farmer families. We will be exploring their lifestyles, going on a night Game Park ride, and hiking in the local mountains. I’ve heard at the end of the hike there is a beautiful waterfall. How exciting is that? Next weekend, the program has a two-day camping/hiking trip AND a rugby game!

I truly wish all of you were here to explore this beautiful country with me. There are no words that can describe how much it has already changed my life.

One week down, six to go!

Hambani kakuhle! (Stay well; plural)

Until next time,


01 June 2009

Game Park Trip!

June 1, 2009 13:21 (South Africa time)
I don't even know where to start. We've already done more than I would have imagined these past couple days! For now, I'm going to give you a short description of what we have done, and later I'll be posting pictures! The internet is insanely slow, so I'm pretty lucky to even have enough time to type an entry into my blog!

On Friday (5.29), after our NMMU campus tour, we were picked up by our shuttle and taken on a little city tour around Port Elizabeth. First, we were taken to the oldest building in the city called Fort Frederick. This building, located at the top of a hill, had an outstanding view of both the city in the ocean. It was just a small building, but the stories they had behind it just made it so much more interesting. For instance, they had an emptied out jail cell and a "powder house" that was used to store the gun powder. Also still intact, were original canons that were used to shoot into the ocean during the time of war. I can't quite remember everything at the top of my head, so I'll just move on to the next thing we did.

Later that afternoon, we went to the Kragga Komma Gaming Park (animal reserve). Honestly, there is really no way I can type about how amazing this was. I felt like I was in a movie. The jeep-like car we were in was just like the one you ride in at the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland! I think this one might have been a little rougher though. This one was about two hours long, and went through so much land! It just took my breath away seeing all these animals in their natural habitat. This was the first time I was able to see the sunset we all see in movies. It's absolutely gorgeous.

Man, my time is up! I really have to cut this short!

Until next time,