Sunday, March 16, 2014

B & B Weekend

The weeks fly by so fast and we never tire of the beautiful sunsets.  We have been trying to capture the perfect sunset picture - which has to include the temple.  We have pondered the exact conditions necessary for a perfect sunset and have concluded that clouds are absolutely necessary for the sun to reflect its golden rays on as it sinks into the horizon.  There is obviously a lesson to be learned from sunsets - we will leave it up to each of you to ponder that and we will continue with our description of the past week.  We were able to teach another dance class - this one was with the senior couples as we celebrated two birthdays. We had fun playing musical chairs, pin the tail on the kangaroo and stealing candy bars as well as Cupid's Shuffle and The Barn Dance.  We never get too old to enjoy games at Family Home Evening.     

The Cockatoos are everywhere "strutting their stuff".  We thought he would fly quickly away when a human being approached with a camera but not so.  He posed and waited and posed again until the shot was perfect.
The first "B" of the week was the Royal Botanic Garden.  This facility is in Sydney CBD, by the Opera House.  It was first built in the 1870's and is a quiet and peaceful spot amid the hustle and bustle of a city.  This is the Fern House.  We have seen a lot of these ferns in our travels throughout New South Wales.  We planted ferns in our backyard in Lehi before we left.  Hoping they have survived.  Sister Feil is contemplating digging up some to take home and plant.

We are trying not to live in a glass house just in case someone decides to throw stones.  Our missionaries frequently have verbal stones thrown at them.  They are learning to deflect them with the scriptures.  There are times we receive calls in the office and we must answer questions and deflect some stones.  We now better appreciate and understand the experiences of our children when they were missionaries.

 We need some eye candy in the back yard and this would be perfect for the grandkids to climb on-maybe.
This is a water feature we would like to have in our back yard.  Just enough water to play in but not enough to be dangerous for the grandkids.  We have gained a lot of ideas for our yard, but many wouldn't stand the Utah weather unless we lived in St George.

The Royal Botanic Garden is backed up by the skyline of downtown Sydney.  What a contrast!

There are always forks in the road and therefore choices to make.  We are glad we chose the road to be senior missionaries.

The Australian White Ibis is seen everywhere.  Apparently they are dirty birds and carry fleas and ticks.  This one appears to have wing problems.

We are wondering why our flowers in Utah don't grow this big. Oh, yeah, it's probably because it's a desert and here it's very humid, near sea level and back up by the Sydney Harbor.  Some things just can't be brought home and so we take thousands of pictures!

Here's a beautiful tree called Frangipani.  It has a pink and white variety. These beautiful trees grow to only about 5-6 feet tall but are much wider than that.  The blossoms emit a wonderful fragrance and are used in the Pacific islands for leis. We see so many of the Sisters wearing the blossoms in their hair at church.  It is supposed to represent love, among many other things.  

A colorful Lorikeet above getting some food.

Left is the fruit of a palm plant.  They believe these plants to be some of the oldest in the world, dating back to prehistoric times.  We will memorize names next time so that this really can be a science lesson!
We meet friends everywhere.  Here's the latest bunch.
Elder tried to speak Navajo to them, but they didn't respond.  

 This is some type of pine tree.  Quite unique and beautiful.
Meow! Says the guard kitty.
This tree has colorful bell shaped flowers.  Maybe Uncle Jay could find out what it is called.  Every other plant in the area was marked except this one.  We have seen other trees like this in our travels north along the coast, so it must grow easily here.
 Behind this statue is the oldest bridge in Sydney made with bricks produced by convicts.  It was part of the original aqueduct system and still survives here.  

 Being in the rain forest so close to the largest city in Australia is awesome!  Every plant has the most unusual blooms, each more colorful and exotic than the last.  The camera got a workout as we tried to get the perfect shot.
These little pods taste like bananas but the little seeds are as hard as a rock.  We got a testimony of that from a tourist who decided to try one.  We were willing to take his word.

We spent the last hour at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.  We looked at an exhibit of Aboriginal Art.  The view of the Harbour is pretty good too.

 At the entrance to the Gardens is a large apple cactus - We have not seen one of these in Arizona, but maybe some of you have.  Elder Feil is next to a Red Gum tree.  We bought him a yo yo made of red gum wood so that he can entertain the troops (missionaries).  We didn't realize there were so many varieties of gum trees.  

 Is this the fountain of youth?  We hope so.  If not, it's at least a work of art.  Even the magpies find the fountain desirable. This drinking fountain was built for the Gardens in the late 1800's.  The granite came from England.  

We finally made it to Bondi Beach - probably the most famous of beaches.  There were more tourists around than Saturday night at the Ocean City Boardwalk.  

 The pavilion houses changing rooms, showers, and lockers.  There is also plenty of places to buy food - much like the Boardwalk, but it is all cement.  :)
Bondi Beach is about the most popular we've seen.  And the waves are great for those learning to surf.  We have never seen a surfing class before, but that is what this picture is showing.  They all paddled out, caught the wave and then rode it back in.  The Aussies love the ocean and have a great respect for their clean beaches.  They do not even allow smoking on the beach.  The picture above is the beach patrol.  They remind Sister Feil of long summer days at the shore, watching the kids play in the surf.

This looks like the NJ Bird's garage!  They seemed to all belong to the surfing class.  After a jump in the ocean, they had to do warm up exercises.  All along the beach were families playing and "working" together.  

Just like every other Aussie beach, Bondi has a rock pool for the little ones and even a smaller rock pool for the teensie tinys.  We thought the water was a little on the cool side but there were plenty of brave people who did not have wet suits on, swimming in the ocean.

We did get our feet wet and collected a few shells.  We are looking for some blue shells that supposedly Fabrege will buy.  The sky was so blue at first and then became progressively more ominous. The beaches are free, but the parking is $7.00 per hour.  The Botanical Gardens were the same deal - free entrance, but you pay to park.  So we were watching our time and planning our getaway as the sky became darker and darker.

Everyone else was oblivious to the approaching storm, but that is another lesson topic and we left the crowds and headed for home, only to drive in the torrential downpour on the freeway home.  

So our week was brought to you by the letter "B" - botanical, beach, Bondi, beauty, blossoms, brave - those who would go into the cold ocean!  And we end up with another beautiful sunset and clouds.  We are greatly blessed to be here and continue to learn new things.  We fed some missionaries this week on different days and they each taught us a short lesson.  They challenged us to share the gospel with others by using FaceBook or other means.  We know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  There are living prophets on the earth.  God's creations are very beautiful.  We learn great lessons from the many earthly creations we see each day.  He is real and the changing seasons prove the influence and power of God.  He makes things that are orderly and magnificent.  You are in our prayers.
With love and concern for you,
Elder and Sister Feil

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