Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Night Bush Walk and A Night at the Opera

How ya goin mates and fam.  Lest you think all we do is work, work, work, and play the tourist role, we had a cultural and educational week.  We joined the other senior couples for dinner in Darling Harbour at Adria's - a nice restaurant  that offers an early 2 course dinner menu for $25 per person.  That fit our budget and the food was great.  We do eat a lot of lamb - they do a wonderful job on cooking it and we have come to really enjoy it as an option on the menu.  

 We had bought these tickets way back in April and had done a fair amount of planning for this event.  After dinner, we took some taxis to the Opera House for the performance of The King and I - et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!

It was truly an enjoyable experience for our date night.  Working out the logistics was even fun and we were happy that all had a great time.  Of course, there are always a few serious discussions.  But we have become great friends and hope to continue these friendships when we return home.  

In the foyer of the Opera House they had different scenes set up so you could have your picture taken.  Here is Yul Brynner with hair (picture taken by the annoying teacher lady) 

The hall is magnificent and the play was brilliant.  There are several different concert halls and restaurants on site.  This place is huge!  Even though we bought the tickets early, we still could not all sit together.  We were in three small groups through out the hall.  But the sound was magnificent as well as the performances.  

Let the play begin as the monks arrive...

By the end, we were singing "Shall we dance" and "Whistle a happy tune" and of course Elder and Sister Feil were dancing all over the place!

Only Mormons can have this much fun even sober.  We laughed and laughed.  Hopefully you can see the inside of the hall.  They have left it unfinished cement for most of the walls.

Then in this area, they put wood on the walls.  The effect is amazing.

When we came out, the views were breathtaking and and we all felt blessed just to be in Sydney in the springtime.  The photo below is taken from the Opera House looking at the Harbour.  After the performance, we walked back to Liverpool Street through Hyde Park where we had parked our cars at the Church building.  It was a walk of about 2+ k's.  We are amazed at our ability to get around a large city now.  We can do trains, taxis, buses, cars, and use a GPS to find our way around a foreign country.  We CAN do hard things!  Utah I 15 will seem like a walk in the park.

Here is an update on our masked lapwing that is nesting in front of our office - she and he are still sitting.  We think this may be the week as they take about 4 weeks to hatch.  Maybe we should all get a life - but these animals are so different than what we have in the US and we just enjoy watching them.

Speaking of animals, we also rounded out our cultural weekend with a night bush walk in the Bidjigal Reserve which is about 4 k's from our house.  Once again, we carpooled to the Reserve and took our torches ( flashlights).  We needed to dress warm because it was a beautiful evening but on the cool side.  It is a typical spring.

 We signed our lives away in case we were injured, and used the pictures to make sure that at the end we all returned!  President and Sister Barr organized this event, with the Smiths providing a dinner before hand.  We had an authorized guide provided by the reserve as well as a small animal expert.  

The first animal sited was this sugar glider.  He can actually "fly" from tree to tree - well glide would be more accurate.  The expert found him after we had all walked past.  Without our guides, we would never have seen any of the animals.  

Even though the reserve is in the middle of a city with houses all around, when you are out here, you feel completely surrounded by the bush.  We enjoyed the company as well as the learning experience since most of us are Americans.

 This ant home was really quite large - about the size of a large bowl.  One of the guides was actually a plant expert and we learned about the trees and bushes that we see every day.

There is a small waterfall near the end of the walk and these frogs are all around.  They sound very large but are actually only about an inch long.  Yea for our beautiful camera which was able to take this photo.

On our way back from our 4k walkabout, we saw several ring tailed possums.  They are very different from the possums in the US.  The first one we saw was well hidden and far away.  But the second little guy was right by the trail and did a great job of playing possum and posing for the picture.  Possum Magic!

We all made it back safe and sound from the bush - and enjoyed some TimTams for a treat.
We have also been helping our YSA in the Baulkham Hills stake prepare for Songfest as a regional activity.  The format is pretty interesting - they have 12 minutes to perform 1 hymn, 1 small group number and 1 large group number.  The small and large group numbers needed to be songs from the theme - Motown.  We had a lot of fun and work as we sang "Heard it through the Grapevine", "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch" and "Wishing".  It was a great experience for us and a change of pace from the work that we usually do.  September has slipped away and we are staring October in the face.  We are busy preparing for the last transfer as well as several weeks of training for the couple coming to take our place.  We are still reading the Book of Mormon each day, writing in our journals, and looking forward to listening to the Prophet and Apostles at conference. Enjoy your world and we will continue to enjoy ours.
Does Lincoln..." have enough guns and elephants for transporting things?"  "I don't think they have elephants in America, your majesty" "No elephants?  No wonder he is not winning war!"
From the Opera House, Elder Feil the King and Sister Feil, the Difficult Woman 

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