Monday, 26 March 2012

St. Augustine, Kennedy Space Center, Universal Orlando and the NEW iPad...

A few weeks back I was able to attend a very close friend of mines sister’s wedding. I have pretty much been unofficially adopted as part of the family and we spend most holidays together.

The wedding was held in St. Augustine, Florida, which is about a 4 hours drive up along the coast north towards Georgia. St. Augustine is the oldest city founded n the USA by Spanish settlers in 1565. The city has kept the old world charm and is also home to the Fountain of Youth.

The wedding service was held on the beach and it was a beautiful day in a perfect setting. We partied the night away to a reggae band, good food and plenty of champagne.

After the wedding a few of us made our way into the city and ended up at one of the local bars which stocked 155 different bottled beers from around the world. Lets just say the rest of the evening was a blur…

The next day we spent a lazy day recovering and strolling the streets of St. Augustine surrounding ourselves in history and taking a tour of the old fort. We also got to witness a re-enactment of the
invasion of the British with the firing of canons and muskets through the narrow streets. We finished up the day with an amazing meal and good wine at the Tasting Room – highly recommended!

On my drive back from St. Augustine, I decided to stop and spend the day at Kennedy Space Center. WOW! What an experience. I got to feel like a real astronaut during the space shuttle launch experience, which is simulated, but as close to the real thing as you can get. I was in awe thinking back to 1981 when I was a young boy sitting at my home in South Africa watching the launch of Columbia, never to imagine that I would one day be standing right there at the launch site. I was in total awe to be standing were so much history had been written and was even able to touch a rock specimen from the moon. I am also so privileged that in my time in the US,
to have watched 2 successful evening launches.

To add more action to my weekend, we had a planned Workaway outing to Universal Studios, Orlando. I have been to Universal Studios before on previous trips to the US, but never got to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter… Yes, I am a fan! It was AMAZING! Like stepping into the movies. It was packed, as it is one of the most popular attractions and people come from all over the world to be there. It was well worth the 1-hour wait to do the roller coaster ride.

We got to spend 9 hours at both theme parks and we made the most of riding every roller coaster, some more than once. The bus ride home was very quiet as everyone just passed out from pure exhaustion.

Later that week was another big event on the tech calendar, the much-anticipated launch of the new iPad. Its crazy to see what frenzy everyone gets into when it comes to Apple device, myself
included. This isn’t my first iPad, I was here in the US for the launch of the original product.

I couldn’t wait and had to order a new iPad immediately. The anticipation of waiting all week for the package to arrive on launch day was pure torture. Eventually the day arrived and it was like being a kid at Christmas… unwrapping the packaging and looking at this gleaming piece of brilliant technology. The screen resolution is incredible. You can’t believe that you can actually see things in so much detail. I love it!

Well, I am off from work this Tuesday and have decided to spend the day in South Beach, Miami with my housemate Sam. Looking forward to sipping cocktails and people watching. Details to follow in my next blog…

Author: Andre Smith

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The things we're missing!

The 6 months are nearly over and happily, and sadly, I'm not going home any time soon.

But sometimes it’s more sad than happy when I realize all of the things that I'm missing. This year my parents have their 30th wedding anniversary, my sister turns 18, and my older sister will be giving birth.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s going to be easier or harder to be away from them as the month’s progress. Luckily with work and all the amazing things to see in America I don't have a lot of spare time.

What do I do in my spare time? I'm busy finishing my TEFL course which is an English teaching certification. Paid for with the money I'm making here, ha ha. If this place gives me nothing it will have given me the opportunity to further my education. It sounds corny but it’s true. When I'm finished here in hopefully another year I'm planning on moving to Chile to teach English to under privileged children.
On my way to live the dream!
But no, I really don't think it’s going to get any easier to be away from the family. Luckily we have skype, bbm and international calling from T-mobile.

Author: Melissa Rauch

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Adventure begins!

So the time has come and we get to go on our first trip, Universal Studios and Island of Adventure. Everyone super
excited about the trip, we all get the bus at 5H45 and are amped for our 3 hour bus ride to Orland.
Off we go…
Arriving just before 10am we all get going and form groups and head out to enjoy a fun filled day. I have had the
opportunity of going to Universal 4 times previously so this was number 5 and I was just as excited. I paired up with 3 good friends, Mirela from Romania, Gillian and Charl from South Africa or should I say with Cinderella, Gilly bean
and Charles as they are better known, lol.
… And so the adventure begins.
We decided to start with Universal studio park first. We went on our first roller coaster and it was an indoor coaster “the Mummy” and my was it great, with three D special effects that where amazing! Then was Men in Black :-) and that was so funny I laughed all the way, next Bart Simpson 3D roller coaster and my, did I enjoy it! and I can go on and on…
Off to Island of Adventure and a chance to shoot up into the air on a roller coaster and flip upside down before beginning an adrenalin rush and feeling weak at the knees, Wow that was great!!! “the Hulk” coaster. We got to meet Scooby Doo and Dora and even enjoy the Harry Potter ride, now that is indescribable. Jurassic Park and so many more adventurous rides and places to see. We all felt like kid’s again and enjoyed every moment. We even got to wait 40 minutes for a water ride “RipSaw” and my did we get soaked on the ride and all I heard was Cinderella and Charles laughing behind me, every time another wave came into the boat. So much fun! It is always nice to share experiences with such great people and create memories for a life time. If you have not yet been to see the Park, it is a must for everyone.
And so the adventure lives on…

Author: Lucille Earle