PMO Note
Center Stage

Center Stage: South Africa Daily Student Perspective

 

Adam Nagy

DAY 11 & 12 - I can�۪t believe such an amazing trip has come to an end! After a relaxing morning in Johannesburg, our group loaded up the buses to begin our long journey home. After about 30 hours of travel, it seems that everyone has made it home, safe and sound. As I look back upon the past couple of weeks, it�۪s difficult to choose a favorite experience. It could be performing with the Red Dazzlers in the shadow of the magnificent Table Mountain in Cape Town, or it may be tracking down the ���Big 5�� in Kruger National Park. Perhaps it was the Apartheid Museum and Children�۪s Hospital in Johannesburg and Soweto, or maybe it was simply sharing all of these experiences with great friends and family. I�۪d like to take this opportunity to say a few words of thanks. To all of the groups we performed with, your partnership made South Africa unforgettable. To all of the guests who traveled with us, you were fantastic companions, and we only hope you enjoyed the trip as much as we did. To the PMO staff, thank you for everything you did to make this experience possible for the gentlemen of the Glee Club. To the staff of AHI and Tusker Tours, your expertise and hospitality is unrivaled, and we would not have taken this tour with anyone else. To Gerritt, thank you for your hard work and dedication over the past 6 months; you will be missed. And to everyone who has followed our journey from the United States, thank you for your continued support. The Glee Club has finished another year on a high note, and we are proud to welcome Bill Griffel as the Director of PMO and the Glee Club in the fall. I hope you all have a good summer, and we look forward to seeing you in a few months! - Junior Adam Nagy


Kevin Lavery

DAY 10 - Once again, an amazing day on our South Africa tour. Today we toured Soweto, a suburb of Pretoria. We started off the day with a glimpse at the apartheid museum. The museum was an excellent opportunity to learn about the hardships and triumphs of South African history. The tour continued with a bus trip and description of the history of Soweto. We had an amazing lunch at Wandie�۪s, a local restaurant. Our next stop was at one of the largest hospitals in the southern hemisphere. While we were there, we sang to a group of children. It is such an amazing experience to bring some joy to those young patients. The day ended with an awesome farewell dinner and some singing. This trip has been an experience that I will never forget and I am grateful that I have had this incredible opportunity. - Senior Kevin Lavery


Lance Connolly

DAY 9 - Another great day on our tour of South Africa! We started our morning with a wonderful buffet breakfast at the hotel. Our tour today was a historical tour of Pretoria City, one of the capitals of South Africa. The first stop was the Kruger House, home to President Paul Kruger where he lived the last 16 years of the 19th century. Next we toured the Voortrekker Monument honoring the pioneers who made the Great Trek out of the British Cape Colony. The monument was very impressive. We stopped at the South African Government building for some souvenirs and a group picture. Lunch was enjoyed at the Blue Crane where we had a delicious spread of food. Our last performance of the year was held at the Linder Auditorium. We gathered in song for a powerhouse of sound with three South African male choruses. I must say we ended our year on a high note! - Junior Lance Connolly


John Lindstrom

DAYS 7 & 8 - The past few days in Kruger National Park have been phenomenal. The weather has been beautiful and at the end of every day, when the gorgeous red sunset has fallen beyond the horizon, you are blanketed by the stunning night sky. From here, you can see hundreds of stars and the milky way. I know now that seeing an elephant and her baby takes your breath away. Collectively we have seen everything from lions and leopards, to rhinos and giraffes. On Sunday, the first ever Skukuza-Boilermaker Open golf tournament took place. We had to dodge full grown warthogs and impala stool on and off the fairway. The tournament took place between the morning and evening game drives. There was also the added challenge of seven teams playing with only five sets of clubs. After the clubs were split as fairly as possible, two teams still didn't have putters! It was a fun round of golf and now we can say that we have golfed in South Africa. The winners were announced at dinner and the 33 of us who played all received prizes. After dinner we had an amazing concert with the Kruger National Park choir in the camp's outdoor amphitheater. The night was filled with dancing, laughing and singing as our music combined to carry through the night. We even had to improvise by using flashlights and vehicle headlights to keep us illuminated. Monday morning we rose bright and early for our final game drive. Some groups met before 6am to get a head start. Overall, my time in Kruger was unforgettable and made me long to return some day. We drove the five hours back to Johannesburg and were greeted with a scrumptious high tea service. We are looking forward to the rest of our trip and the return home. Until then, cheers from South Africa! - Freshman John Lindstrom


Corey Lee

DAYS 5 & 6 ��� What an exciting two days it has been! Friday started with an early breakfast at 4am followed by a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg. It was raining in Cape Town, but it was a beautiful day when we landed. From the airport, we loaded up our safari bags and boarded the buses to head to Kruger National Park. It was a five hour bus ride, filled with sleep, African music and amazing views of South Africa. Upon arrival to Skukuza, our camp within Kruger, we settled into our bungalows. The 2 person bungalows had thatched roofs, but also air conditioning and bathrooms. We quickly hopped aboard the 9 person safari vehicles for our first game drive. It was cut a little short, but my group still managed to see impalas, a crocodile, Cape Buffalo, and hippos. Dinner was a fantastic buffet outside along the river. Following dinner, most of us found ourselves around the camp fire enjoying fellowship and of course a little singing. Saturday morning began bright and early with coffee and tea at 6am. The temperature was very cold as we boarded our safari vehicles for our sunrise game drive. This morning we got off to a quick start, spotting many giraffes, springbuck, and an entire herd of Cape Buffalo. All of the sudden, a voice came over the radio with a location and the word "lions" and our vehicle took off! We drove and came upon six lions in the distance. Before long they were walking on the street right next to our vehicle, almost within arms reach. This made for quite a photo opportunity. We also managed to spot many more animals, including hyenas and three zebra. A big breakfast was waiting for us when we returned with all the local dishes we had already tried, as well as some new ones. We had a little time to clean up, relax, or shop before lunch. By midday the temperature had dramatically changed from bitter cold to sweltering sun light. Following lunch, we headed out on the afternoon game drive, seeing many more animals and getting a great view of the setting sun. After dinner, we performed a quick show for the South African Mint. It was amazing to share our music with yet another group of people here in South Africa. We ended our second day in Kruger with more food, fellowship, and music. - Senior Corey Lee


Ian Hyman

DAY 4 ��� Ring Ring. We set the wake up call for 7 a.m. and after that we were on the move all day. We knew we were going to be going on a bus tour, but we didn�۪t expect anything that happened. Our first stop was Maiden�۪s Cove. It was quick but a great chance to climb up some rocks right on the coast for some good pictures. We packed up the bus and off we went again this time we stopped at Hout Bay. Here we had a little more time to walk around and look at shops and look at all the great art work South Africa can offer. When we finished walking the line of shops we ran into a seal. That�۪s right a live seal just chilling out on the side walk willing to have friendly tourist come up and give him a hug and a fish. Once again back on the bus for Boulders Beach. On the way over the sky turned grey and started to get a little gloomy but we would not let this make our next stop any less eventful. What do you ask is at Boulders Beach...Penguins. South African Penguins just relaxing on the beach and going fishing. Who wouldn�۪t like that. We even saw a few baby penguins that still had their fur. It was just a lot of fun to go and see live, wild penguins. We have had a long day after the penguins so we were on to the Black Marlin for lunch. We had a good old South African surprise for lunch. It was fish wrapped in bacon kabob. Sounds kind of fishy I know, but it was good...No pun intended. Our last and longest stop after lunch was the Cape of Good Hope. By this time the weather let up a bit so the visit was amazing. We walked up the ocean on the high cliffs and took in the view. Even ended up singing on the top of it just to say we sang at the most Southern tip of South Africa. We then went on a hike to Cape Point. Oh and was it a hike. We ended up taking a few detours and ran down to a beach about 100 meters below our path. Once we had gone down to the beach and taken in the nice white sands, the rain started to come. We ran back up the steps to the path and tried to make it to Cape Point but a few of us were out during a huge rain storm. You might think that we were upset by it, but it was the complete opposite. It was just surreal standing on these huge cliffs in the warm rain with the ocean crashing hundreds of meters below. The group of us that got caught in the rain finally made it up to the lighthouse and again took in the view. We didn�۪t want to leave but it was time for us to get back. We got back on the bus and headed for the hotel. When we got back we had a quick dinner and packed up for our early 4:00 a.m. morning the next day for the flight on to our next stop on this amazing trip. - Sophomore Ian Hyman


Nathan Hough

DAY 3 ��� What a magnificent day! Today we had the morning and afternoon at our leisure. Many of us decided to get caught up on some much needed rest, while others went down to the V & A Waterfront for some shopping and good food. This evening we had our first formal show at the Cape Town City Hall. The Red Dazzlers, a South African music group, performed their own set before us and then we took the stage for a fun filled night. We ended the show together singing African songs including God Bless Africa and Shosholoza. Upon returning to the hotel around 11, some of the guys met with the guests in the hotel bar and ordered food, while others decided to check out some of the local scenes. Overall, it was a great day and we�۪re ready for an all day tour of Cape Town starting tomorrow morning! - Senior Nathan Hough


Jason Young

DAY 2 ��� What an amazing day! We began our first morning in Cape Town with a delicious breakfast at the hotel. After eating, we loaded the three busses and headed for our tour of Robben Island. On the way, we got our first look at Table Mountain. It provides a breathtaking backdrop for one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Once we reached the waterfront, we took a ferry across Table Bay to Robben Island. Touring the island was an unforgettable experience. Our tour guide, a former prisoner of the island, had knowledge about the pain and reconciliation that the past prisoners have endured. On the tour, we viewed historic grave cites, saw the island�۪s one-of-a-kind lighthouse, and visited the actual prison cell that held Nelson Mandela. Going to and from Robben Island, we had the opportunity to see the entire scenic landscape of Cape Town. After we returned to the harbor, we gathered at an amphitheater for a short concert for our guests and the locals nearby. It was neat to see the joy we brought to the city's people as we raised our voices in song. Next, we enjoyed a lunch of our choice at any of the waterfront�۪s unique restaurants. In early afternoon, we met back up for a bus tour of downtown Cape Town. My favorite stop of the tour was one of the city�۪s cathedrals. After enjoying the amazing architecture and stained-glass windows, we did a short impromptu concert inside. The acoustics were awesome! We finished our tour of the city by driving to the top of Signal Hill where we took great pictures of Table Mountain and the vast city below. We then descended Signal Hill and headed back to the hotel for a short rest. We ended the day with a wonderful welcome dinner at The Rotunda. It was great to mingle and share a meal with our guests that are accompanying us on the trip. A local singing group, the Red Dazzlers, performed for us during dinner. It was inspiring to hear a native group and some of their traditional songs. At the conclusion of our meal, the Glee Club, PMO staff, our tour guides, and meal providers joined the Red Dazzlers for a group sing of one of the African songs we learned before coming. As we rode back to the hotel for the night, I reminisced on the exciting events of the day and realized how amazing this trip would be. I can�۪t wait for more exciting days to come in South Africa! - Junior Rob Teall


Jason Young

DAY 1 ��� Wow! After a short break from the beautiful Purdue campus the entire Purdue Varsity Glee Club, PMO Staff and lots of friends gathered for the Glee Club�۪s 2008 International Tour to South Africa! We left West Lafayette at 4:30am on Sunday and headed for Chicago. After checking our bags and a small wait we settled into our first flight from Chicago to Washington D.C. We had a while to wait after our first flight before we boarded an Airbus to Johannesburg, South Africa! The plane was amazing, with touch-screen TVs for every seat and a large selection of movies and games for entertainment. After a long night of flying, we touched down in Johannesburg at 2:30p.m. local time after 15 hours in the air. One of the pilots remarked that the plane burned over 80,000 gallons of jet fuel in our journey! I hate to think how much their gas costs! We then had a short break to grab some food before we hopped on another plane to take us to Cape Town. After a flight that seemed incredibly short compared to our 15 hour trip just hours earlier we were in Cape Town. We boarded Mercedes-Benz coach buses to our hotel and checked in to one of the most luxurious hotels we�۪ve ever been to. This entire journey took over 34 hours and we were all glad to be on land for more than a few hours. I�۪m really excited to get to explore the country with the rest of the Glee Club! ��� Freshman Jason Young

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