Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday Update

Hey everyone! Today was safari day and I just woke Josh up to finish his blog about the day, which is written below. We will upload some pictures from the safari that Charlie took and I am hoping to get another video up tonight. Coach wants me to upload a 15 minute video because he thinks its very important. Easier said than done. I am doing my best to try to get this video online, which shows the field dedication at the site where the Christopher Campbell Memorial Field is to be built. It will be up ASAP, please watch it. Thanks alot and keep the comments coming!

Culturally speaking, today in South Africa is not only Good Friday for the majority of the country’s Christian followers, but it is also Human Rights Day, commemorating this day in the 1960s, when hundreds of South Africans were killed for refusing to carry their legal passes and confronting parliament, demanding self-prosecution. However, Parliament decided to post-pone the official celebration of the holiday until May 2nd because Christianity holds the majority’s precedence.

Grogginess was not a factor this morning. My alarm clock sang to Giueseppe Bua and me the AT&T commercial tune at 5:30 this morning in the setting of our five-star hotel. A hot shower and some soccer review on the Goalissimo Channel later, and were chowing down on ham and egg omelets, muffins, and tropical fruits in the hotel’s breakfast buffet. We boarded the buses “randomly,” in Coach Wagner’s terms (everyone retreated to their regular seats despite the change in agenda), anticipating a two-and-a-half hour ride to Pilanesburg National Park Reserve for our safari adventure. While waiting to depart, a package sent from our Cape Town hotel arrived, containing left-behind passports and iPods that were reclaimed. And we now have new tour guides. On my bus, the Zulu jokester, Kenny, attempted to teach us how to speak Zulu, using clicks added within the pronunciations of word structures, which goes without saying was an impossible skill for us dead end English speakers.

Myself, as well as everyone else in the F&M crew slept the entire way to Pilanesburg. Much needed sleep. But I’m writing now on the bus (after the Safari and before) and everyone is asleep again, so I guess it wasn’t enough.

The safari was an experience totally different from simply visiting the Philadelphia Zoo. No animal sightings were definite. Adventure and discovery was the task. (I’m writing on the bus, and we just passed a 1 square mile sunflower orchard. Pretty awesome.) The first thing we crossed was a hippopotamus peeking out from under a tree branch in a lake, peacefully hovering next to a flock of Egyptian ducks. It took awhile before we saw anything; suddenly we found giraffes, waterbucks, kubu (my favorite animal on the trip and favorite meal, ironically), warthogs, and buffalo (only close up with anything better than 6.0 mega pixels). Our driver showed us a preservation area for wild dogs, which allegedly have a 99.9% killing rate, respectively, giving kudos to their immaculate speed and team hunting skills. They looked like a combination of a very hairy dog and a cheetah with white added to the mix of spots. Then, Jake Gantz spotted some female kudus and zebra before lunch.

A wild game barbecue was held within the park, consisting of saucy kudu, peppered beef, chicken wings, and custards and cake for dessert. It was after eating that the climax of “playing spoons” revealed to Matt Krantz the secret of the senior’s small prank on him.

My stomach hurt riding around on the bumpy off-road terrain for the first ten minutes after lunch. We had trouble finding animals during the heat of the day when they traditionally sleep in the shade or swim, but every now and then we saw the occasional zebra or waterbuck. Our caravan almost ran over a leopard tortoise. Soon baboons intersected our path with some warthogs nearby. But the finale, for my group, was getting stuck in a ditch 50 yards from two enormous rhinoceroses. We returned earlier than the other groups, where they saw everything we did with the exception for a herd of elephants; that would have been nice, but it’s all good because we are back on the road heading for dinner by ourselves in Sandton.

The day is over now. I have already been sleeping for a good twenty minutes, but Matt McCall woke me up, urging me to complete this tonight. So, once I resettled in the hotel after the safari, I gathered my crew of Matt Krantz, Eddie Stene, Giuseppe Bua, and Austin Luskin to get a simple Italian meal that would settle our stomachs from a week’s worth of foreign South African game. A funny thing I realized here, generally, is that when you eat at a culturally specific restaurant the employees do not correspond to the restaurant’s image (they are all African blacks), where the opposite is true in America (I missed feeling like I was actually eating in an Italian Restaurant).

We walked around the Nelson Mandela Square, a lighted courtyard of nightlife accommodating restaurants with beautiful women strutting around in every direction. I bought gelato, visited a bookstore, trialed African tribal music, and wished my eyes around a candy store before heading back to my room to completely pass out, twice! Night ya’ll. Hoobalaloo.
- Josh


Anonymous Gene and Carole Siegrist said...

We have really enjoyed reading your blog every evening! Our family and friends have been checking in too. We all look forward to hearing about your adventures - you gentlemen are talented writers! It's been interesting to view your photographs and videos. Gene is fascinated by your food choices, and has been working on a recipe for barbequed ostrich (-: Have a safe trip home! Gene and Carole Siegrist

March 21, 2008 at 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Lynn and Carol Weaver said...

Hello all! Great job as always on the posts! I know everyone keeps telling you how much they enjoy reading about your adventures but it is the truth. Our whole family talks daily and usually the first question is "did you read the new post on the F and M website!" You all sound like you are having a wonderful time and we wish you well on the last several days of your trip! Lynn and Carol Weaver

P.S. Shelby, Chad and Jolene just came over to eat peanut butter eggs at 10 pm... they ate all of them!!!!! just kidding!!!

March 21, 2008 at 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Chad Weaver said...

You guys rock! Keep it up fellas! Couple days left on this awesome adventure! Way to go and thank you so much for the updates! We love them... Chad and Jolene Weaver

P.S. Shelby... No more peanut butter eggs for you!!!!

March 21, 2008 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I'm so jealous of your zebra sightings! But I am so glad you are all able to see so much of the areas you are visiting. Tell G, Walter, J and Homer that their message was unexpected and absolutely made my week!

I have one question: Which of you boys forgot your passports in Capetown? We will have a chat when you get back...that is, if you don't leave your passport anywhere else.

Love to you XO


March 22, 2008 at 10:50 AM  

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