Monday, February 15, 2016

Amazing African Adventure Day 5

Luckily Autumn didn't wake up at 3:30 am today. We were able to sleep in until 7:30. We got up, got ready, and then went upstairs to Mom & Dad's apartment for breakfast. Papa made his traditional Texas shaped waffles. Yep, Papa brought his Texas shaped waffle maker to South Africa. The waffles only take about 30 seconds to cook b/c of the different electricity outlet. They were soooooooooo good
After we were done w/ breakfast we hit the road to do some shopping. Our first stop was Makro, and it's South Africa's version of Costco or Sam's Club. They have a lot of stuff there, and we got some things we needed, and a few that were just extras.
 After Makro it was off to the African Market. It's in the basement of a super swanky mall. This giraffe is taller than Autumn and is made out of beads and wire! Too bad he won't fit in our suitcase.
 Down in the market they have so many booths full of so many things to buy. All the shopkeepers tell you to come into their booth and look at what they have. You have to just ignore a bunch of them. This guy talked Autumn into buying this painting. Last night I went through and wrote down how much the rand is worth compared to the USDollar, b/c I had no clue. The rate was 15.8723 rand for every $1. I'm so glad I had that little notecard w/ me, so I could barter and figure out how much I was paying for something.
Andrew got this authentic African djembe (drum). He plays them at school, so he was thrilled to find one of his very own to take home. They guy in the yellowish shirt was so WONDERFUL and had Andrew come and play the drums w/ him. Then he showed Andrew how to tighten the drum by himself so he can do that at home if the strings get loose. He was super nice and went way above and beyond just trying to make a sale.
We all found some treasures there, and probably overpaid a little bit. But, this is how they make their living and you just have to figure out ahead of time what you would be willing to pay for something. Then you barter to get w/in that price range. I absolutely abhor and loathe bartering. However, they were not super aggressive and it was fine. It was an interesting experience for sure!

After that, we drove over to the Oriental Plaza to have lunch and do some more shopping. We ate lunch at World of Samoosas. A lot of the senior couples love to eat here.
It's an Indian restaurant, and the food is really good. The portion sizes were huge, too! We're all big fans of the cheese & corn samoosas. As you can see, it was a fun looking dining experience.
 Autumn needed to use the restroom, and I'm glad Dad took us to show us where it is. Especially since it costs money to use the restroom and Autumn & I didn't know, so we didn't have any money on us. I didn't go in b/c Dad only had enough coins for him and Autumn. Autumn came back out and said she was scared b/c there were just holes in the ground! I promised the lady guard that I wasn't going to use the bathroom & was just going in to help Autumn. There were some toilets that were holes in the ground, but they also had normal toilets. She used a normal toilet, and then we both washed our hands before we left. My middle finger fingernail broke (which is why I'm holding my fingers up). I picked up the broken fingernail piece and will try and super glue it back on when we get home.
 After we all found some treasures at the Oriental Plaza, we headed for home. Look at us w/ all these bags of purchases. Also behind us is the rental van that Dad has been driving us around in. He's a very skilled driver, especially w/ all the CRAZY combie drivers around.

Here are some of the things we bought. Dad got an African print shirt, Lexie got an African print dress, Jon got a Springbok Rugby jersey, Andrew got an African drum, and Autumn & I got skirts. What a fun shopping trip.
 After that, we all just vegged for a while and either took naps, checked emails, or played games. At 4:00 Mom, Lexie, Jon, & I walked across the street to the mall. It's literally about 30 steps from the front of the apartment complex to the door of the mall. We went to Pick N Pay, which is a normal grocery store. We got a few things for a dinner we were invited to attend tonight. Since the apartments are so close, we're allowed to take the carts home w/ us. Then once we're done w/ it we take it back down to the lobby and a doorman takes the cart back over to the mall. Pretty fancy!
 I took the cart back down to the lobby and there was a whole big group of Senior missionaries singing, "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." One of the temple missionary couples is done w/ their mission and they are going back home. It was neat to see the close camaraderie and friendships they have created.
 This guy works at the front desk and is Mom's favorite. Talk about fancy service ... he held a fan up to her face to cool her off. LOL. It makes me feel good to know that Mom & Dad are being well taken care of while they're away from us.
 Mom & I hurried and made a salad, then we all got cleaned up, and went over to the area offices to attend a Texas BBQ dinner at the "White House." This big building houses 4 super nice apartments for the Africa Southeast Area Presidency. Elder & Sis. Ellis (he's a member of the Quorum of the Seventy) invited us over for a Texas BBQ along w/ some other senior couple missionaries b/c we're all from Texas.
 As you can see, the yard is gorgeous and looks out over the valley.
The Bergs (couple on the left) work in the PR department, the Powells (in the middle) take care of the technology, the Grafs (she's in pink and he's in blue), and then Pres & Sis. Ellis. We had brisket, salsa & chips (those are really hard to come by in South Africa), salad, baked beans, and rolls. For dessert we had to have none other than Texas Sheet Cake.
During dinner Elder Ellis had each couple go around and tell how they came to live in Texas. Y'all, there were soooooooooooo many connections made that it felt like the Twilight Zone. The Bergs know our good friend that is a Bishop and married Jason & I back in the day. Then the Powells are in the same ward as my cousins Tyler & Emily. Then we know Sis. Graf b/c we were stationed in Germany at the same time and we went to the same ward. Then Lexie was visiting teaching partners w/ the Ellis's daughter in Austin! And that's just the beginning of the list of connections between everyone. It was uncanny how many connections there were. It was a wonderful evening!

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