Saturday, August 11, 2012

Johannesburg Part III

            Unfortunately, I have to begin by saying that the best shots are in my video pictures,
which simply will not upload due to our bandwidth.
But, the still shots can give you an idea of what we saw
and how it felt to be "inside" the penned areas with lions & cheetahs, etc.
It seemed as if we were on a mini-safari.

Don't you love it!  This ostrich struck a beauty queen pose.
But, later bit the hand that tried to feed her...
George can't afford to lose any more fingers! 
Zebras grazing.  I studied them diligently and am still not sure...
Are they black w/ white stripes or white w/ black stripes?
Maybe the children can let me know what they think.
I think it's a fox, but whatever it was, it was cute.
A few of these took off across the crest of this hill just as we arrived.
They traveled so fast my camera couldn't get a clear shot.
It made me marvel to think that a cheetah is even faster!

This is the oft-seen national bird of South Africa.
It's called a "Hadedah" for the laughing sound it makes.
Isn't there a saying, "Let sleeping lions lie"?
Nevertheless, we tried to make noises (through closed windows) to rouse him.
Apparently having a full stomach, he did not deign to even acknowledge our presence.
A pride of lions... three males and two females.
As we watched, two more cubs joined the group,
one of which tried to snuggle with "dad"...
who quickly put him in his place.
A rare white lion with two lionesses.  He was huge.
Reminds me of the white marble lion statues
at the foot of the beautiful "Bridge of Lions" in my hometown of St. Augustine, Florida.
One of my favorite baby pictures is of me at 3 yrs old sitting up on top of one of them.
Some scurvy-looking jackals.  But they are amazing hunters
because they work strategically as a team.
I didn't get a still photo of the wild dogs, but was impressed to find out
that they are actually very likable, with such admirable qualities as taking care of
the wounded or disabled dogs in their pack (bringing food to them, etc).

This lion cub, with his chin resting on the warm stone, was obviously a sun-worshiper.
He seemed like a good choice for George to pat.

But, when he suddenly turned and looked George straight in the eye,
I'm pretty sure I saw George quiver just for a second.
Comparing paws!
It goes against all of your lifelong self-preservation instincts to touch a lion.
And, when you see how big these cubs are and the size of their large teeth and claws,
it's hard to pat and rub them roughly, as you are instructed to do.
Claws safely tucked inside the  paw.  So far, so good.
The one on the left had just walked over and cuddled up to my friend.
George wanted me to shake his hand (easy for HIM to suggest).
My hand was nearly swallowed up... figuratively speaking, of course.
The meerkats were so much fun to watch.  Took me right back to "Lion King".
Our dear South African friends, Elder (Bob) and Sister (Pam) Eppel.
They drove us to the park and gave us a great guided tour.
They live in a suburb of Johannesburg, but are serving a full-time mission
to travel through the Africa S.E. Area (ASEA) for him to do Church Audits.
Of historical interest, he was the very first Stake President for Soweto.
Aren't they beautiful?
On the left, an older bull.  On the right, a young female.
I found out that the color gets darker as they age.
The older giraffe would stick out an incredibly long tongue and pull the food off the palm.

The younger giraffe had a different style. She wrapped that long tongue around the hand
and then put her whole mouth over the food, closing over it and pulling it in.
This resulted in a lot of residual giraffe saliva!
A very young giraffe (one month) who had her own little pen & shelter.
We couldn't feed this one because she was still nursing.
I tried so hard to get these spotted hyenas to move a muscle.
Especially wanted to get a picture of them since my granddaughter, Chloe,
prays every night that "Grandpa George & Nana will be safe from the hyenas."
(she's another example of "Lion King" flashback)
We talked with a beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed girl who has worked in the lion cub den for six yrs.
She gave us a lot of information about the lions.  For instance, that they become more dangerous
at six months old & are then taken out.  I asked, "How old are the ones we've been petting?"
She answered ,"Six months!"
The area around the park had many elegant "Bird of Paradise"
Called "Thorn of Christ" or "Crown of Thorns"
It is poisonous and has absolutely wickedly sharp thorns
 which would prick if even slightly touched.
Just a small section of the wall of African masks.
These were mostly Zulu.  The ones I've purchased are mostly
Kasai Occidental and Kasai Oriental.
Exquisitely elongated African figures... beaded and sparkling.

I wanted so badly to buy one, but weight & size of souvenirs
have to be considered when planning for our return to the USA.
The previous picture and this one are inaccurate in their idealistic portrayal of PDA.
(For those who have not kept up with modern acronyms, that's "Public Display of Affection")
We have RARELY seen any African couple holding hands
and NEVER seen a couple hugging or kissing.
We asked the Eppels to pick their favorite restaurant,
and so we got to enjoy another "Mike's Kitchen" located near their home.
This happy & boisterous waiter acted and talked like "Satchmo".
We had fun talking to him.  I gave him a Pass Along card.
Dominic Tshabalala, his wife and 5 children gave a presentation
 at  the Senior Couple's Family Home Evening,
which was also a farewell for the Savages.
They donned African attire and sang some songs in Xhosa,
complete with the clicking sound.
Afterward, he teased Elder Savage by saying,
"YOU are the real 'savage' in Africa!"
He also bore his testimony of how the Church had blessed his life.
You can't fool me with deceptive names... I can SMELL chocolate!

Beading is a tradition in some parts of Africa.  
We enjoyed many of the signs with wording that was different than we are used to.
"No hooting!" is still my favorite.
Without a doubt, the best presentation of a Pina Colada ever!
(And it tasted even better than it looked)
Several couples gathered at "Grand Central" restaurant.
Nice view, great food & service and a fun crowd.
Left front: Elder ("The best thing to come out of Idaho is I-15") & Sister Roberts
 Center front: Elder (the IT guy) & Sister Knudsen
Right front:  Sister & Elder Smith followed by
Elder (aka Cary Grant) Webb & Sister Webb across from him.
My shy little friend at the dentist's office.
His mother wore a full burka and told me his name, which was bigger than he is.
The load being pushed is trash.  I love the name of the company... "PIKI - TUP"
This sweet young woman overheard me ask a store clerk where I might find some Estee Lauder.
Because this mall has several sections that radiate from a hub & she knew it could be confusing,
she volunteered to show us.  It was a LONG way, but we had such a great conversation.
She wants to better herself, so is going back to school (she's 26) to get her MBA.
I gave her a Pass Along card and we exchanged contact information.
George wanted a picture of this store's name.
I suggested that perhaps it should be ME in the picture,
but he wisely refuted that.
I took video so all the little ones in the family could see this Lego creation with  moving parts.
If our bandwidth is ever increased, maybe they'll see it.
No comment.
Because it was Nelson Mandela's birthday, portraits were everywhere.
Also nearby, a street musician was playing a very good saxaphone.
 I put some money in his cup & commented on his Mandela picture,
at which he broke into a bluesy rendition of "Happy Birthday"

A view of our apartment from the open interior.  Ours was the middle entry to the left.
Pigeons flew into these open areas, so their coo-ing was a frequent background sound.
Security is very important in So. Africa.  First you unlock the gate
and step into the alcove, and then go to your front door.
Apartments not on a corner simply have a locked iron trellis a few inches in front of the door.
The apartment was clean, neat, and comfortably furnished.
On the far right was a wide flat-screen TV which, amazingly, we never even turned on.
Because we knew we'd have a morning flight & would have to leave the apartment early,
we had worried about how we would be able to have it all clean and ready to occupy.
One day, we walked out of the apartment elevator and exchanged "hellos" with this woman.
But then, seeing our badges, she turned around and came back up to introduce herself.
She told us that she was a member of the Church and we had a pleasant conversation.
Later I mentioned her name (Grace) to some of the missionaries.
They told us that she and her husband worked as a cleaning team.
(Problem Solved!)
We were also told a really neat story about how she had joined the Church
some years before, but her husband had remained uninterested.
One night she was fasting and praying about what she could to do
and the Spirit gave her very specific instructions for the next day.
She followed that guidance and long story, short...
Victor was soon baptized and they have just recently been sealed
for Time and Eternity in the Johannesburg temple.
(Prayer Answered!)
A familiar view of the entrance to our apartments taken from Killarney Mall across the street.
Part of the large complex of apartments which includes 20 plus which the Church has bought.
It was so neat to be in such proximity to 20 wonderful Senior Couples.
Frankly, they all have a pretty strong respect for those of us serving in the DR Congo.
And, I have to admit that those of us from DRC do tease them about living in "Africa-Light"
The local newspapers post headlines every day,
but the Happy Birthday TATA (fond nickname for Mandela) were up every day for a week.
One of the special legacies of Nelson Mandela.
Children ARE the future of this and any nation.
This beautiful street, with the entrance to the Johannesburg Zoo at the end,
became a familiar sight for George & me.
We consistently missed the turn to get on Oxford Rd. and ended up here day after day!

Once on Oxford Rd., it was just a hop, skip and a jump to the Area Offices.
Here we have Matthew, whom we'd previously met when he came to Kinshasa for IT work.
I asked him what in the world he was eating... his answer: an "avo" sandwich, of course!

This is a view from the ASEA Reception area.
The modernistic statue of a family seems very symbolic to me.
First, though the family is composed of individuals,
each of the family members are connected.
This symbolizes the bonds of unity and love that tie us to each other.
Also, it is carved out of a single piece of stone and the figures share a common base.
This symbolizes the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that eternal families have.

One day we took Sue to Moyo's... a well-known African restaurant located on Zoo Lake.
It is a very popular recreation and relaxation spot in Johannesburg.
But, I'm not sure why they call it Zoo Lake, since the actual city zoo is quite far away.
(and we should know, having found ourselves there by mistake several times in the first few days)
The lake adjoining the restauratn is tranquil and lovely.  It features lots of large geese and the large fountain at right.
The unique entrance immediately makes you feel you have stepped into another world.
Flags from all the African countries decked the restaurant.
We sat outside up on the first level to the right.
It was a lovely sunny day to enjoy this unique experience.
It seems so strange to me that the same landscaping decorative cabbages
used in Africa, are also seen in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Magpies are also in both places.

I asked this man what the symbols painted on his face meant.
He answered, "Happiness".
I asked the woman the same question...
She answered, "Happiness".
They laughed when I teased them about this.
The scene from the roof made me think of the phrase, "It's a jungle out there!"

The lobby was modern with an African "feel".
Our friendly waitress greeted us to take upstairs.
A closer look at the feathered tribal hat.
She was singing an African "Welcome Song" in Xhosa,
(I tried to do it with the clicking sound and she laughed)
Note the metal cover for the menu
I don't like pictures of me, but am bowing to pressure from family & friends.
On the other hand, I really like this picture of George.
He doesn't like having pictures taken, either.
So, the best ones are when he's not aware.
Even the information on the menu was interesting. 
By now, this should need no introduction.
But, I want my kids to know that the tradition goes on....
First, our waitress sang an African song of welcome (captured on video).
Then we were treated to the traditional "hand-washing ceremony".
It took less time for George's 9 1/2 fingers.
If there are any bird-watchers out there, you can answer the question...
What kind of bird builds the round ball hanging from the palm frond above the lamp?
We saw 8 or more of the birds go in and on the nest.
Then we had our faces painted.  Let me guess... it probably means "Happiness!!"
On the other hand, George's symbols look like bear tracks.
He does act a little grumpy sometimes.
I've lost Sue's picture, but it was a pretty scroll.

This is the description of my order, below.
Four kinds of meat dishes and a LOT to eat.
All of it was tasty, but I took about 2/3 of it home & ate it for the next two days.
George's was a delicious chicken dish, which he loved.
(don't tell him it had curry in it).
Sue's plate looked like someone put 1/2 a cow on it!  It was some kind of "buck"...A beef-lover's delight.
I think the manager was concerned that I didn't like the food,
because so much was left un-eaten.
I assured her I would take it with me and finish it off.
So many small features gave an African ambiance to Moyo's.
When we were finished, the waitress handed this hinged box to George.
Kind of a fun way to soften the blow of the bill.
Can you see his hand shaking just a bit?
After lunch, we were invited to have a guided tour of the outside area.
A great outdoor area in an African setting.  These old-fashioned water barrels fit right in.
But they served a very modern need. 
Lots of business people enjoy dining at Moyo's,
so a phone and internet are provided.
I didn't find out if these whimsical tree barks were for fun or protection of the trees.
The restaurant was specifially designed to fit within & around the jungle growth.
Hearing our voices, these curious geese began to immerge from the water.
They seemed pretty intent on coming toward us
and were obviously expecting to be fed.
But they looked askance at the man
trying to tease them with a plastic bangle.
I wish he wouldn't tempt fate with his remaining fingers.
Inflation in Zimbabwe.  It used to be a prosperous country.
Do you think this is scary?
How about THIS?
As I said, Zimbabwe was once a prosperous country.
If you think runaway inflation could never happen in the USA,
please don't vote.
What could be better?  Relaxing in the park on a sunny day...
surrounded by Hadedahs.
Who could resist being happy with all of them laughing. 
When we went to the Church Distribution Center,
I was impressed to see materials in about 20 languages... even Xhosa.
Elder & Sister Hartman arrived back in Johannesburg office the day before we left.
He is the ASEA psychologist and author of the popular "Color Code Personality Profile".
A couple months ago, he had what seemed to be a bug bite which grew larger.
He had to fly to the U.S. for another matter and while there, went into a semi-coma.
When his family got no response from phone calls, they went up to the cabin and found him,
he was only hours away from death due to a deadly infection called MRSA.
Doctors were able to save his life and also treat his wife, who had early stages of the same.
Some fun nail technicians. We all had a good time together.
The woman in the middle did my nails and told me that she wanted to be married,
but would not marry just anyone or lower her standards to do so.
She asked me to pray for her.  I gave her a Pass Along card & told her I would (& did).
On our way to the airport, one last picture
 of a beautiful stone wall & some "winter" flowers of Johannesburg.
And a fond farewell...
to the new, immaculately clean & un-damaged taxis of Johannesburg.
The banner leading into the airport is invites us to visit "Magical Kenya".
That would be the likely location of my hoped-for Safari next year...
Could this be an omen?
This scene is Ndjili Airport, where we were met by "Antoine"
who takes care of "formalities" and gets our luggage. 
Outside was our faithful Thierry.  We waited for an hour & took pictures.
Sometimes a picture just begs to be taken...
because the man is dressed fancier than the women.
Remember the beautiful taxis of Jo'burg?  Back to the reality of Kinshasa.
But even this beat up old wreck moved on it's own power,
as opposed to the one below that President Jameson took a picture of recently....

As much as anything, this shows the amazing character of the Congolese people.
There are patient, resilient, resourceful & improvisational...
If we had 100th of the challenges they face every day,
we'd be off whimpering in a dark corner somewhere.
They just figure out a way and get going!
As we headed down the highway, it was good to see the Kimbanseke Stake Center.
Our special orphanage is just a short distance down the side road on the left.
Today, Fils reported to me that he had delivered the radio/cd player we got for Arnold.
He's the lovable 16 yr. blind boy who has lived at the orphanage almost his whole life.
The Staggs had taken the Book of Mormon on CDs to him last visit
and I promised them (and him) that we'd get a player for him.
The Masina chapel is also on the Masina Highway (Lumumba Blvd).
We all call this"The Nauvoo Temple" because it's so exceptionally large
and the three stories are not typical for an LDS chapel.
It's always fun to be stuck in traffic behind one of these precarious loads.

I thought the pink shoes were particularly fetching.
Sugar cane is a popular vendor item.
A piece is chewed off and the sweet juice sucked out.
My grade school playground was ringed with sugar cane in Florida
and I remember enjoying it a lot.
No special message here...
It just happens to be the sign that we were next to for a SOLID HOUR,
when the traffic DIDN'T MOVE ONE INCH!!
Oh, for a panoramic view that could give you the full impact of  this chaos.
Notice brave pedestrians & vendors
and the cars coming toward us in between other cars going our way.
The driver of this hearse was in a very big rush and was particularly rude.
He very nearly hit us shortly after this picture was taken.
All I could think was,
"You've got a dead man for a passenger.  What's your hurry?"
Dikembe Mutumbo is a famous NBA player who had this hospital built.
It is named for his mother, whose home was just minutes from a hospital.
But she became ill, and because of a 1998 curfew in effect in Kinshasa,
she died before she could get treatment.
This is supposed to beTWO lanes,
but some on the far left use oncoming traffic lanes to "cheat".
Because of the hill, you can see the stream of people on the far left,
which was matched by the equal but unseen stream on the far right.
It doesn't even count those who are crazy or desperate enough
to cross between & around the cars.
Double the volume of sunglasses in this picture...
 and then include a man carrying it all on his head. 

I used to wonder why so many vendors were selling one particular item... tissues.
Then one day, I realized that we'd been told to always have some with us.
You  have three guesses.
These pictures have a dusty look to them was dusty!!
The construction on this highway is incredibly hard on everyone in so  many ways.
But I wanted to show you this typical picture of a woman carry cassava on her head
and a little "bebe" on her back.  The funny thing is that you almost NEVER see them cry.
They are quietly looking around or sleeping, with their little heads dangling to & fro.
Yet I've never seen a child or adult who seems to have suffered from this.
Could it be that their necks are actually strengthened?
Green PJ Alert!
This outfit is green, too.
But, look how beautiful it is... lovely colors & style with a graceful  woman to wear it.
Probably onions and certainly impressively heavy.
A two-fer... I like the floral pink in this contest.
Thierry's home, which is behind a locked gate & located right
on the "Masina highway", which is really Lumumba Blvd (under construction).
Thierry has to drive this dreaded road every day to get to the Mission Office.
Sometimes it takes him three hours.  On top of this, he also has been going to school
and just got his Bachelor Degree in Business Management two days ago.
AND... he is the Masina Stake President.  We all love & admire him so much.
Yellow PJ Alert!
Recently, I showed how close some of the homes are to the railroad.
These are some of the vendors who have to move their wares AND themselves
when a train is coming... after which they return.
This was taken as we crossed the Ngaba Bridge.
Orange PJ Alert!  This black & orange combination will look very appropriate in October!
The 100,000 capacity Vodacom Stadium.  A dusty, but welcome sight
as we watched the sun go down on our travel home from the airport...
a trip that should have taken 45 minutes ended up taking over 5 HOURS.
But, being the "party animals" that we are, we had Thierry take us straight
to the Chinese Restaurant to join with the others for a Couple's Dinner.
And, so officially concluded our wonderful trip to Johannesburg!


  1. What a difference a day makes. Your first set of pictures are so nice and pretty. The animals even look like they have it good. Then you head home and again you see the dirt and the poverty. Thanks for taking the time to try and load these pictures over and over. We really enjoy them. Although I'd like to say glad you made it home ok I think it's better to say I'm glad you got to go visit Johannasburg!

  2. Just know that my enjoyment was worth ALL the hours spent to upload this! I loved every minute and can't believe all the animals you got to see/pet! I think this is my favorite one yet. I love the animals, but it's also fascinating to see the differences between Johannasburg and Kinshasa, unreal!