Sunday, September 28, 2014

A walk around the neighborhood, etc.

Today (Saturday) was our P-day. We haven't had a chance to take care of personal chores for almost two weeks, because on the previous Saturday we toured Johannesburg. This morning, before we cleaned our flat and went grocery shopping, we took a walk around our neighborhood. It was about
9 a.m. and the sun was up and the morning was already quite warm. It was a great experience to see the different types of houses and foliage that surround us. Aside from a brief walk early one evening last week, today's walk was our first serious endeavor to explore the area by foot. Here are some photos of what we saw as we did so, along with a few miscellaneous shots:

Lookng down our street, from our driveway

Some of the driveways are very steep! Looks like a four-wheel drive vehicle would come in handy

This beauty is right by our parking space at our flat. 

Okay, we were in awe at  the crescent at the bottom of the moon. Don't remember seeing it this way back home! Southern Hemisphere thing I presume. A little blurry, but you get the idea! We saw this the night we went to the MTC to play 'investigator' for the missionaries. They are leaving Tuesday for Cape Town and Zimbabwe. What great missionaries they will be. They have such excitement for the work they are about to embark on. Most were from Utah!

Lenny, our flat guest.  
The road our flat is on.

Not sure what this is, but isn't it pretty?


Look at the dates in the tree. They are all over here.

We were given a new car to use while we serve our mission. It's four days old and it's name is Toyota Corolla.

This is the canyon we drive through each day to get to and from the mission office. We see people walking on both sides of the road and you have to really be cautious cause they are not.

It's a five mile drive to the mission office.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tour of Johannesburg

On September 20, we took a tour of Johannesburg, along with President and Sister Dunn, three other missonary couples, our tour guide (Pierre) and two of his friends. Pierre is the Dunns' neighbor and was born and raised in this area. It was nice to have someone in our party that knew so much about Johannesburg.
We traveled from Roodepoort, where we reside, to the community of Rosebank, which is roughly 11 miles away. There, we boarded the Gautrain, which is a high-speed train system constructed about four years ago in preparation for the World Cup, which Johannesburg hosted. The train travels at a speed of just under 100 mph; very quiet and comfortable.
When we arrived at our destination, we boarded a double-decker tour bus which took us on the tour of the city. We got off the bus at two points and did a little walking tour. At one of those stops (Braamfontein) we were near a college campus and there was a lot going on. We walked to an area similar to a huge food court, and were amazed at the number of unique culinary offerings. We purchased two types of crepes, which were excellent, one savory and the other sweet. There was so much foot traffic that it was difficult to even find a place to stand while we ate.
We enjoyed lunch at a little outdoor restaurant before boarding the tour bus again and continuing our tour.
We began our activity at 9:00 a.m. and returned to Roodepoort at about 5:30 p.m. What a wonderful day it was!
Here are a few pictures of our tour:

Hand striped lines.

The Gautrain station in Rosebank

Our tour group in the Gautrain station

The Gautrain arriving...

Our tour bus

Preparing to board the bus

A beautiful flower in the heart of Johannesburg!
Found this handsome dude on the bus. Think I'll keep him!

A popular town square

Got bananas? Not in Joburg, but in Benoni, I saw a sign that said "bananas, 2 kg for 5.99 Rand."
That equates to 4.4 pounds for 60 cents (U.S.)

We just can't get away from the golden arches -

or from the crown

The city overlooks were taken from atop a 50-story building. Unfortunately, the air was hazy from pollution

Notice the building painted to simulate the South African flag

This was taken at the Gold Reef City Theme Park and Hotel.

Look closely at the tree - a novel idea for landscaping...

The huge food court in Braamfontein; crowded would be an understatement

Two satisfied customers

One of many food preparation stations in the dining area; too bad they couldn't find any large cookware 

This is what we each had for lunch in Braamfontein - delicious!

Chambers for the South African constitutional court; similar to our supreme court

The architecture around Joburg is spectacular!

street markets were on every block.

Some happy workers entertaining us at a robot (traffic light)

These markets were side by side everywhere.
As you can see, there is still a lot of life in this big city!
Our tour group; Dunns, Hansens, Thompsons, Burtons (the mission doctor) Allreds
During Apartheid much violence happened. The destruction is still evident today. There is still much in the way of repair and revitalization to be done through much of the city, but slowly it is happening.