14 July 2009

Farewell South Africa...

This is it!
Like all good things, my trip must come to an end...

As I have said before in my past blogs, this trip has been absolutely amazing. I am spending a few hours of my last full day in the internet cafe to write this blog not because I have nothing else to do, but because I really do enjoy sharing my experiences with everyone. I am very happy to hear that people actually read and follow it and am extremely thankful for everyone and their support!

Since my University program ended, my trip slowed down quite a bit. By no means does that mean it got boring, it became more like a holiday, more relaxing. I loved it. I started off my first days of freedom (from anything school related) by spending time in Jeffrey's Bay. That was a cool experience in it's own. There, I watched some professional surfers compete in the world famous Billabong Pro held at Supertubes Park. There are pictures to come, so I'll move on.

After a couple days there, I phoned some friends I made during my first week here and asked if they wanted to hang out before I left. They were more than happy to. Both of them, Brett and Bradley, invited me to their houses for a Braii and Potjai. The food was delicious! It was such a cool experience being invited to a typical South African home for lunch and dinner. The families were great and very welcoming. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures from that. I do, however, have many stories to tell! Invite me for some coffee and I'll fill you in, deal?

Ok ok, let's get started with some pictures...


This is a photo of everyone who lived in my flat (apartment). This, in particular, is special because it was our last group picture together. I already miss living with them.
After waiting seven weeks, we finally made it to J-Bay!
The highlight of our J-Bay trip was having the opportunity to check out the annual Billabong Pro Surf Competition held in Supertubes Park.
The sand crowd enjoying some good music, good waves, and good surf!
People up in the nosebleeds!
While in Jeffrey's a few buddies of mine took me to Saint Francis, which was about a half hour drive. This place was beautiful.

A road sign...obviously.
During the first couple nights of the Pro, there was this event called the Malibu Festival. There, they had local and national South African bands play some music. It was pretty awesome!
Here we are driving up and down the coast!
Brett going camera crazy when Kai Otton of Austrailia comes out of the water after a great run on the waves!
Kai Otton checking out the heat after his.

My new place... Lungile Backpackers in Humewood, Port Elizabeth!
The guys getting their surfboards ready...
Can you find me?... I can't either.

This picture is of the Quicksilver Megastore during the pro-sufer signings! The free food, free beer, awesome DJ, great crowd and lively atmosphere made this such a cool event. It was obviously the place to be!
Kelly Slater! My roomate describes him as one of the most respected professional surfers in the world! I must admit, I do agree.
The Billabong Factory Shop
Even after some rain, these sand-works stood strong!
Lastly, a Jeffrey's Bay sunrise...

I just thought I'd show everyone where all the "magic" happens! Yes, this is the internet cafe I've been using to write my blog!
On my last day of school, after our farewell breakfast, I thought I'd be a cool idea to take a picture of our campus and show everyone. I mean, this is why I came to Africa, right?
The California group with the great International Office staff.
I actually took this one this morning while walking down the beachfront. A storm had just passed and the sky was starting to clear up. How beautiful is that?

I'm not sure what I'm feeling right now. I am really excited to see everyone, but dreading the fact that it means going back to routine. Work, school, sleep, repeat. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerrating. I guess, when I get home, I won't be as bummed out as I feel. I know for a fact that this trip sparked something inside of me I didn't think I had. I found a new passion, a passion to travel the world to see what else is out there. I want to experience things that most people say they want to do, but unfortunately, never end up doing. Who knows where I'll end up next. I have a few trips in mind, but will find it extremely difficult to top this South African experience.

Before I say my farewell on this blog while in Africa, I want to thank anyone and everyone who has supported my trip here. Thank you to everyone who took care of my group, to the South African locals who gave me such awesome experiences, to my parents, my family, my friends, and to you. I wish I could find the words to justify how thankful I am but no matter how hard I try, I can't. It's just one of those things...

Again, this trip is one to remember and it's been amazing, South Africa...

Thank you and farewell!

Until next time,

PS. Yes Mom, I'm coming home!

08 July 2009

Welcome To Amazing!

(isiZulu for "Hello")

To me, Welcome to Amazing was not only the theme for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, it seemed to be the theme for the past couple days! We started off the weekend by packing up and heading to Grahamstown for their annual Arts Festival! It is said to be the largest festival of it’s kind in the continent of Africa. The food, the drinks, the art, and the amazing vibe of this festival, doesn’t compare to anything I’ve ever been to! It was interesting to see the various types of art with an African twist to it. I would try to explain how cool it was through typing about it, but we all know my photos do a much better job! Check them out and let me know what you think!

Central Market
This was probably one of my favorite areas. There were numerous street performances and great crafts for sale!
Greens Feild Market
The band we were watching in this photo was pretty awesome! It was a soft-rock, acoustic group who sang in both English and isiXhosa!
This comedian was Egg-celent! He was walking around telling jokes "on the phone" while entertaining everyone with his extravogant hat! His crazy laugh still haunts me!
My buddy Kevin and I enjoying a Kudu Roll... after a Kudu burger. Yum!
Everywhere you walked there was bound to be a poster advertizing a show or two... or thirty.
Cape Town Big Jazz Band
This is one of the three jazz bands we saw. The other two were younger, yet talented, groups.
Some of the street acts were pretty amazing! This one, I think, was a traditional Zulu dance. What I found intersting was the fact that they would be singing, dancing, and chanting at the same time.
Another show, which happened to be my favorite, was the African Beat Production. It was a spectacular review of African music and dance over time. No words can describe how talented these performers are!
On our way back to Port Elizabeth, we were lucky to have yet another amazing sunset! These two are of the same sky at the Nanaga Farm Stall Market.
This view was only there for about five-minutes. I turned around and it was gone!


The Addo Elephant National and Scotia Game Park was an experience at another level of amazing. I seriously needed to pinch myself because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. If I had the internet speed and time, I would definitely share all my pictures! For now, enjoy these!
Our park guide called this "The Bum View." It's obvious why... right?
Just enjoying the breeze outside the van!
It's Pumba!
I saw this sign as we stopped and wasn't sure if I wanted to get out of the vehicle. I remember watching this video on YouTube of lions attacking people at places like this. Scary stuff! Don't worry, I didn't stay in the van, I was brave enough to get out.
I couldn't believe how close these elephants would get to our van! These gentle giants were massive!
Driving to the water hole!
I remember driving up to this and not knowing what to think or say. I was speechless.

Fun Fact: It takes an elephant eight months after birth to fully learn how to control the 60,000 muscles in their trunk!
The sign of a lion being here! Rest in Peace, Buck!
Zebras! How do we pronounce it? Potato is tomato as Deborah is to Zebra?

Sh*$ happens!
I think everytime they would face our truck like this, our hearts skipped a beat. You never know when they're ready to attack.
The following pictures do not justify the size of these lions! It was so intense when we parked right next to them. Our truck was wide open so they could have easily jumped in for a quick snack!
I would have gone to play with him, but I'm allergic to cats. Bummer!
We were told it was mating season... no wonder she's tired.
This lion was probably the scarriest one! Oh wait, it's just Marci! Here we are enjoying our last couple hours of the game ride. Searching for night activity was so much fun!
We ended our excursion with some delicious food and drinks! Chicken, Springboc, veggies and rice. One of the best meals I've had in South Africa!
Overall an amazing couple days with some amazing people!


I'm sorry to say that this might be my last blog entry during my stay in South Africa! My university program has ended and I have one week left here, so I'm going to take the time to do some exploring. Tomorrow, a few of my travelmates and I are packing up and heading to Jeffery's Bay for a couple nights. There, we will be exploring the town while watching some world class surfers at the Billabong Pro Competition!

After our stay in Jeffery's, there's a chance I might be flying to Johannesburg. My free accomodations in Pretoria are still pending, so that trip isn't set in stone. For now, I have reservations at a hostel in Summerstrand just in case. Either way, I don't see how this trip can get any better!

Thank you to everyone who has been keeping up with my blog. I truly enjoy sharing all my experiences with you! I promise my voyages are only beginning and there will be many more to come!

Peace, Love and Chicken Grease!

Until next time,

Usale kahle!
(iziZulu for "Goodbye")