Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week ending November 29, 2014

The past week brought several events: installation of an air conditioner in the mission office, Thanksgiving Day, an enjoyable gathering of senior missionary couples at the mission home, another exploratory walk in the area near our flat, and a matinee viewing of the play "War Horse" at the Montecasino shopping, dining and entertainment center not far from where we live.

November 27: (Thanksgiving Day)
We spent most of the day at the office. Our work was cut short when a crew arrived to install a new air conditioner/heater. Desks were moved, concrete dust from drilling covered almost every corner of the office area, and electrical power was off and on fairly often.The installation work required us to basically abandon our computers and sit outside the office. Owing to the weather (warm and non-wintry) and to the fact that there would be no formal observation of the holiday here, it didn't seem like Thanksgiving Day.

November 28:
We joined several other senior missionary couples for an evening of visiting and fine dining at the mission home. President and Sister Dunn are such a gracious host and hostess and with their efforts and the excellent food that all couples brought, it was an excellent evening. We had the opportunity to get acquainted with couples that are serving their missions in the area office, which is located in Parktown, essentially Johannesburg.

November 29:
We took another morning walk in the area near our flat. This time we walked along a street called Panorama Drive, which climbs steeply to the top of one of the bluffs in this area. Once on top, the view of the surrounding area is beautiful; one can see for "kilometers." Following are a few photos of what we saw on our walk.

 This is the view looking toward the general area of our flat's location. The street is Panorama Drive.
This is the view from the top of Panorama Drive. The morning air was a bit hazy at the time, unfortunately. 

Looking up from Panorama Drive to one of the houses that sit even higher on the bluff. We aren't sure how to get to that level. That would be an even better view - a project for a later date.

Looking downhill on Panorama Drive

A beautiful tree on the edge of the street

Notice the tree with several trunks coming from a common root ball

On any walk, we are greeted by "friendly" welcoming committee members. Thank goodness for strong gates and fences!

A little park in a residential area atop Panorama Drive

More welcoming committee members. Notice how they are trying to squeeze through the railing, because they are so anxious to play with us. What could be more exciting than entertaining two slobbering Rottweilers who have dinner (us) on their mind?

If we could add the ocean in the foreground, this photo would be similar to the scenes of coastal Italy.

This vase is fascinating; it is at least six feet tall. It sits in the courtyard of a house on Panorama Drive. This house is vacant and for sale; we will get a price if you are in the market to buy. This and other houses have balconies that hang over the bluff and they have a fantastic view of the countryside. 

The bluffs have a considerable amount of open, untouched area on them, owing to their steep slopes.

Another view of the housing on the bluffs

This afternoon, Elder and Sister Hansen, Elder and Sister Thompson and we went to the Montecasino in Fourways to view the play "War Horse." We attended the matinee showing and it was excellent. The horses in the play were masterfully constructed of metal, cables and other material, and were brought to life by two men inside each horse and one that stood alongside to control the head and ears. It became easy to overlook the human side of the horses' animation and to focus on the horse. Every movement was as if they were real e.g. tail movement, twitching of the ears, etc. It is amazing what human imagination and creative talents can come up with! Following the play, we enjoyed a good meal at one of the many restaurants in Montecasino. It would be appropriate to call Montecasino a resort inasmuch as it has so many things to offer in the way of dining, lodging and entertainment. It is located about 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the mission office.

Inside the theater

We wandered around the casino while waiting for War Horse to start. Notice the ceiling. As you walk around it changes from night to day.

We felt like we were walking the streets in Italy!

The Montecasino. We ate at Coco Bongo, below on the left.

Chicken Latino, grilled chicken topped with spinach, Feta, and a creamy sauce. It was delicious!