31January2014

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Weekend Orientation Program
31 January- 2 February 2014
Day One
Starting off our weekend, we got about two hours behind schedule because the buses that were ordered for us did not show and we had to wait for our back-up buses to get there. When we did get on the bus, we weren’t given that much information…like was our schedule going to be adjusted or anything like that. We rode for about 5 min and then they all had to stop for petrol. We didn’t know if we could get out and grab a snack or not….So, we waited. Then we drove for about an hour when we stopped for a bathroom break. Again, the driver didn’t say anything to us he just got out and started talking to the other drivers. I finally asked if we could get out and have a snack. Yes. So, we all piled out and invaded this little gas station. lol! It was a sight! Another 45 min down the road and we were here…but first we were taken to lunch. The rest of the day was thrown off because of transport in the morning. 20140202-153047.jpg

When we got to Tsitsikamma Adventure Falls, they just sent us on to Storms River Bridge for lunch. There was a garage (gas station) where we could get snacks or a Steers (burger fast food place). There were a couple of short paths we could take to see the bridge and evidently we are pretty close to the bungee jumping bridge, which looks like the Storms River bridge just bigger. 20140202-153131.jpg

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20140202-153209.jpg While Cassidy and I were at the overlook taking pictures two older ladies came down to the overlook. They were obviously on a weekend trip together and I asked them if they wanted me to take their picture, an offer they gladly accepted. When I was finished they asked me, “OK, so you are obviously American, where are you from and why are you here?” lol! She was totally curious, not mean in the least. We told her that we were here from SCSU to study at NMMU for the semester. Well, it turns out that one of the ladies works in the Geography department at the univeristy. I’ll have to stop by her office at some point and say hello.

Then when we got back to our accommodations we got an orientation to the lodge. There was a big room and when we walked in our bedding was in each chair. It reminded me of camp. The rooms accommodated a lot of sleepers all at once. My room had four people sleeping on the ground floor and a place for five sleepers. Our room had mostly SCSU people and two German girls slept in our room but I didn’t really get to know them. I was disappointed that we didn’t have any forced interaction or mixing this weekend. However, I was pleased that our SCSU girls did mix it up a bit.

We were scheduled to have a two hour talk about the history of South Africa, but because of our new time constraints it turned into a 20 minute talk. I really liked it though because Dr. Joste who is the director of International Studies at NMMU is also a historian.

20140202-153736.jpg He took the time to situate us in the place where we were spending the weekend, Tsitsikamma. I will post the presentation when I get a copy of it instead of trying to recap the whole thing. Let’s just get by know with me saying that it was beneficial to my weekend.

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Then we ate a nice dinner of lamb and veggie curry wrapped in a tortilla with koeksisters for dessert. After dinner they opened the bar and people socialized outside, around the pool table or in their rooms. We also got an African drumming lesson which was great fun, even if you weren’t that good at it. I found most of the rhythms easy to catch onto but got tripped up with the one that alternated left and right hands. After I had my turn with the drum lesson I took pictures for some of the girls who went next. Then he let people come back for a jam session. While they did that I sat outside with one of my trip-mates and watched the stars come out. It was amazing! I saw one shooting star and the Milky Way was quite clear. I’m not sure how long we sat there but it was a perfect way to unwind. Then it was time for bed…Some people found it too hot to sleep in their rooms and pulled their mattresses out on to the patio.

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