Friday, May 25, 2018

GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 - Weekend Edition

Saturday, May 19, 2018

After a busy day yesterday, at the Developer Day session for the Braintree dev team, it was time for some a little R&R and getting to know a bit more of Johannesburg. Jennifer, David's better half, arranged a tour to the Lion and Safari Park and the Township of Soweto - Soweto is short for South West Townships. Our driver, Pike, arrived at 8:00 AM local time to take us on our tour.

The initial arrangement was to first do a tour of the township, then go to the Lion's Park. Pike suggested we did the opposite to better enjoy the experience, as the Lion and Safari Park would be less concurred. We went with his recommendations and it turned out to be a great decision. After arriving, we arranged for Pike to buy our tickets which gave us access to all the park's attractions: petting the lion's and the cheetah, a tour through the park, and the new hyena and leopard exhibits.

Cob lions exhibit

Cheetah exhibit

With David and Jennifer

Lions exhibit


David and I with our park guide Princess


After completing the tour through the park, we were off to our next adventure in the township of Soweto. On our way there, we stopped at the First National Bank (FNB) Stadium (formerly known as Soccer City and The Calabash), located in Nasrec, bordering Soweto. David and I literally jumped out of the car to go take pictures of this engineering marvel. This stadium can accommodate close to 88,000 people.

FNB Stadium is host to some of the best football and rugby matches, both domestic and international.

FNB Stadium
I found this promo video on YouTube, which gives you an idea of the sense of pride.

After our stop at FNB we stopped at the Orlando Towers for some food. Originally the site of a coal fired power station, the Orlando Towers have become one of the most distinctive landmarks in the neighborhood of Soweto and the site of the world's first bungee jump between two cooling towers, as well as other thrilling adventure sports such as abseiling and SCAD (suspended catch air device) falling.

Pike and I

Both of the 33-story towers are completely covered in brightly colored murals, one of which depicts scenes and images from the township's culture and the other with corporate branding.

We had lunch at the famous Chaf Pozi Restaurant and Bar. We decided to treat our tour driver to launch and ordered some good BBQ, while we watched a few of the braves bungee jump from the platform between the two towers.

Off we went into the township and started off at the internationally recognized welcome sign.

At the "Welcome to Soweto" sign
The evolution of this place has been from one of forced habitation to an address of pride and social prestige as well as a destination in its own right.

Soweto Township
Our driver would take us to visit places of tremendous historical significance such as the former home of Nelson Mandela, and the Hector Pieterson Memorial. Nearby is the home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu (not open to visitors); Winnie Mandela also has a property a short walk away, too
Nelson Mandela House Museum

Hector Pieterson Memorial
After a hectic day, David, Jennifer and I were dropped off at the hotel, where we met up with the rest of the group as we would be having dinner with Pieter Cornelius from Braintree, Kathie and Angie from Dynamic Communities, and Alicia from Rockton Software at The ROCK Diner in the Design Quarter in Sandton, a very .

From left to right: Mariano Gomez, David Musgrave, Jennifer Musgrave, Katie Froeber, Pieter Cornelius, Angie Ryan, and Alicia Weigel

Sunday, May 20, 2018

This morning I woke up fairly early and went down to grab a coffee. Minutes later, my good friend Miguel Lozano from TitaniumGP made his appearance. Miguel had flown from San Diego to Zurich, had a long layover, then flew from Zurich to Joburg for the conference.

With Miguel Lozano
Brunch was planned from a few days aback with a number of the guys from Braintree and their families, so we ended up going to FEGO Caffé Montecasino. I was joined by Jennifer and David Musgrave; Liezl and Adriaan Davel, my colleague from Mekorma in South Africa, Janet and Mitch Holfeld, and Christel and Ben Strachan. Miguel Lozano joined us a bit later as he was freshing up from a long trip.

Back at the hotel, I took a power nap and met up with David in the afternoon to go over our sessions and presentation plans.

At the Sun Square bar lounge
After ensuring all our slide decks were in order and working through minor details, it was almost time for dinner. Pieter had plan a big dinner for all international guess and sponsors, at Chief's Boma Restaurant, located on the premises of the Indaba Hotel, Spa & Conference Centre.

Left: Tony Sinton, Miguel Lozano, Pieter Cornelius, Rob Bowden, Kathryne Brindley, Katie Froeber
Right: Mariano Gomez, Nick Botha, Michelle Van Aardt, Alicia Weigel, Angie Ryan, Jennifer Musgrave, David Musgrave
Center Back: Vaughan Proctor
Chief's Boma offers a unique African cuisine experience and I wasn't going to shy away from some good sirloin, buffalo, and ostrich to get my gastronomical fix.

Sirloin, Ostrich, and Buffalo
Back at the hotel, it was time for some rest as the conference would officially begin tomorrow.

Until next post,

Mariano Gomez, MVP

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