Saturday, August 15, 2009

Just got back to the US!


Yesterday, the Whiffs flew into JFK and thus completed the international portion of our summer tour. Over the next week or so, we will be performing in the northeast United States.


Friday, August 7, 2009

New entries!


I just updated my blog with photos from France, Greece and Turkey.



Hi there,

Sorry for the absence. I've been away from this for quite a while because we haven't had much downtime until now. We're all in Turkey now after France and Greece. In France, we tried wine, saw medieval cathedrals, sang in old churches and sang at a wedding: all in a day's work.

In Greece, we actually didn't even sing a concert. We had a day in Athens and 3 days in Kefalonia, an island off the West coast of Greece that was exactly how I'd pictured Greek islands: scenic, hilly and absolutely beautiful.

Turkey is great. We have all already hit most of the tourist hotspots (Haggia Sophia, Cisterns, Palace, etc.) and have sung our first concert (at Bogasici University, the University that also happens to be housing us) and have our next concert a cistern. Yup. Should be pretty great.

Sorry for the paucity of information in this post. I just realized I haven't eaten lunch and am quite hungry.

Until next time.

Monday, July 27, 2009



Sorry for the delay in putting all of this up. Tour has been quite exhausting. After South Africa, we went to France, hitting Margaux, St. Emilion, Le Mans and St. Aubin Sur Loire all within the space of a week. This was, in my opinion, one of our best stops of tour. In the Margaux/St. Emilion area in the heart of Bordeaux, we were forced (sometimes, life is so difficult...) to taste multiple wines every day, and, before and after concerts, were given glasses of wonderful wine. Not only this, but we were given tours of multiple vineyards and given an insight into exactly how the delicious beverage that we were drinking was produced. Truly an amazing experience.

In Le Mans, we sang in an old church with some of the best acoustics of any space in which I have ever sung. Every song sounded great in that space, and it was really a pleasure to hear our group in such a beautifully and acoustically perfect space. Not only this, but we also had the opportunity to visit the cathedral in Le Mans, a cathedral which, upon seeing a postcard of an aerial view, I realized I had studied in Art History class. Very cool.

As our last stop in France, we stayed at The Chateau St. Aubin in St. Aubin sur Loire. Built in the 18th century, the chateau used to belong to the governor of the area. 10 years ago, the chateau was, unfortunately, in quite a state of disrepair. This was, of course, until the current owner gained control over the grounds and started renovations. You can see the before and after pictures here: as well as some other photos of the grounds. We sang a concert right inf ront of the main entrance to the chateau, followed by a delicious dinner with (I love France) more exquisite wine.

In France, we learned yet again that the quickest way to a Whifenpoof's heart is through his liver. We are all suckers for wine.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Yesterday Trevor, Brian Mummert, Drew and I woke up at 5:30 am and drove two hours in the dark to Gansbaai, to see great white sharks. We got a safety briefing and watched a video which reminded us of how awesome sharks are, and harmless (350 people were killed by kites last year--KITES! and four by sharks) which didn't really lessen the thrill of getting into water with them. The boat ride out to Dyer Island was very choppy and rough, but the sea calmed somewhat when we dropped anchor, chummed the water and began to attract sharks. In the six-person cage, we bobbed up and down in the swells, in water that reeked of fish oil and intestines, until the watchers above us called out "down, right!" or "down, front!" at which point we dived to the bottom of the cage and watched as a huge shark swam lazily by, following a pair of fish heads tied to a rope maneuvered by one of the handlers. It was about two feet away at most.

We passed most of the morning like this, and I got over my initial butterflies, feeling secure in our crew's mammalian intelligence and superiority over the enormous fish below us. Just as I was getting ready to change back into my clothes and have a nap, one of the sharks tricked the rope puller crewman and lunged at the fish heads, grabbing them and shaking them violently to and fro as he swam away, biting the cage in frustration and lashing the surface with his tail, splashing everyone with water. It was an electrifying reminder of how awesome sharks are.

Sweet. Afterwards at lunch, a cat stole my hamburger. Lesson: animals are smarter than you think.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

South Africa!

Hey all,

Sorry for the long absence. I actually left Whiff Tour for a week to go to Jordan with my family and Meghan (my girlfriend). It was really wonderful, but, as it doesn't pertain to Whiff Tour and this is, indeed, the Whiff Tour Blog, I'll put down my thoughts of Jordan elsewhere.

As for India, which is where the Whiffs were in my absence, I hear that many people had mixed feelings. As I wasn't there, I won't discuss them as anything I could type here would be hearsay.

But, South Africa! We're in Cape Town, and it's beautiful. We found an internet cafe, which keeps Brian (E) and me happy, as that is our primary concern is life. Sad, I know. Apparently, they also have an ethernet connection for laptops, so I'm going to bring mine tomorrow or the next day to upload a bunch of photos from Phuket -> Jordan.

So, last night here was interesting. Half the group went to a great steakhouse on the waterfront called "City Grill"...or something. Although it wasn't cheap, it was great. I ate an ostrich steak and people ate things as exotic as spring bok and crocodile. Upon returning, we found out that Brian (M), who was in the other group,w hich went to a traditional African restaurant in town, was mugged, lost the equivalent of USD 40, and had to cancel all of his credit cards, etc. It was pretty upsetting and apparently happened at knife-point. So...I guess it was a reminder that we're not in Kansas anymore.

Today, our plan is to go see the Cape of Good Hope. Tomorrow, we have our first concert, and in the few days, many of us have grand plans, including, at least for myself and Joel, shark cage diving. Updates to follow.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Taj Mahal photos!

Hi again,

I just posted some photos of our visit to the Taj Mahal.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mt. Everest and Thailand wats photos!

Hi all,

I just added photos from Casey, Jesse and my visit to Mt. Everest. I also put up pictures of the wats in Bangkok.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Massive tour blog update!

Hey folks,

Today, I updated my blog with posts about our travels in Japan, China and Thailand. Check it out!



So, Phuket, as imagined, is incredible. It's beautiful, warm, a little humid, surprisingly sunny, despite the fact that it's "rainy season", and fun. Yesterday and today, we rented scooters and scooted around town. Don't worry, parents, everyone's fine. We had a couple small falls, but, minor scrapes and bruises aside, nobody was injured. Yesterday, Joel, Jay F. and I scooted up to a place called "sunset point", a beautiful point of the island from which you can see for miles in every direction. Today, we first went to a place called Wat Chalong, a small collection of temples, some of which were absolutely beautiful, and some of them that, as Jamie put it, look like a Disney Temple. After that, we went to go see Phuket's "Big Buddha", a gigantic white Buddha that you can see from pretty much anywhere on the island.

Sadly, we leave tomorrow, but next stop is Kathmandu, a place that has been a favorite for the Whiffs of recent years. And after that, I leave the Whiffs for a week to go to Jordan. But, fear not, I'll be back with the group in South Africa. Someone else is gonna have to post in India, but I'll put up at least one in Kathmandu. Until then.