Sunday, October 11, 2015

Another year older

We started this week helping our new senior missionaries get settled with the technology they need to carry out their mission.
Sister and Elder Burke - new Area Medical advisors
Wednesday was Diane´s birthday. Birthdays are hard on the mission. We spend every day at the office getting home too tired to go out. Then we are together all of the time so it´s hard to shop for presents. When we got to the office Wednesday morning they had some nice balloons for her. Actually the balloons were to celebrate Cancer Day, but we´ll take anything we can.
Nice pink balloons
Wednesday morning we had a new worker so they had us give our normal 1/2-hour Leadership Training in English followed by 1-hour training in Portuguese. In the afternoon we walked around the neighborhood trying to find a birthday cake. We found a Black Forest cake for Diane and ended up ordering a gluten-free apple cake for me (it ended up being very dry). We then went to Shopping El Dorado for a Fifties-style burger. We invited the senior couples over to our apartment in the evening to help us eat the birthday cakes.
Birthday girl with her Black Forest cake
 Instead of candles they use a sparkler on the top of birthday cakes.
You light up my life
While we were at the Shopping we got a call from Paulo saying, "Where are you?". They had a surprise for Diane. We couldn´t get back before time to go home so the surprise was postponed until Thursday morning. The custom is for the birthday girl to cut the cake and give the first piece to the one she likes the most.
Birthday cake in the office
Cutting the cake
Giving the first piece to Emerson 
Friday morning we headed to the airport and flew to Manaus, in the Amazon. We were greeted at the airport by Ednei (the FM for Manaus) who took us to the Tropical Hotel. There was a long line checking in so we had to wait for awhile. By the time we got to the desk all the rooms of the type we requested were gone so they upgraded our room (same cost). 

Our living room
Our bedroom
 It is a nice resort hotel for about $80 a night. Monday is a holiday (Children´s Day in Brazil, Columbus Day in the USA, and Thanksgiving Day in Canada). There are a lot of people here for the holiday. Many are going fishing on the Amazon.
Tropical Courtyard
Wild animals
After checking in we went to a 5pm session at the Manaus Temple (which actually started at 4:30 pm) so we had to wait for the 6:30 pm session. 
Manaus Temple
We were hungry and decided to take a bus to Shopping Ponta Negra for a bite to eat. I got on the bus, Diane didn´t and the bus took off. I got off at the next stop and walked back to try it again. We found a small shop that served Tacacá, a local dish we had heard about.

Eating Tacacá
 We were able to get in the 6:30 pm session of the temple.

On Saturday morning we went on a City Tour.
Waiting for the City tour
 We first went to see Paço de Liberdade, a government building turned museum.
holding the world
Giant snake
Local artwork
Robert, our guide, pointing to the future
We next went to the Teatro Amazonas, a European-styled opera house built during the rubber boom of the 19th century. All of the materials were imported from Europe and floated up the Amazon River.
Manaus Opera House
The Manaus symphony was rehearsing when we visited.
Pretty fancy!
 We next went to the Municipal Market built by Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame. There were a lot of gift shops.

Gourd bowls for Tacacá
Paintings of Manaus
River boats on the Rio Negro
Saturday afternoon we had our first training session with Marivaldo, the Council Technology Specialist for Manaus. He is responsible for 11 stakes and 2 districts. 

Sunday morning we went to church with Ednei and his family at the Novo Esperança Ward. It was good to meet with the members there. 

Ednai and his family
We went back to the hotel after meetings. There is a small zoo behind the hotel so we decided to walk through it. It is very hot here in Manaus. It´s like being in a sauna when we are outside.

Feeding the turtle
Playing around
This big fellow wasn´t even in a cage
Look at that!
 In the evening we had training for stake leaders and technology specialists from the nine stakes in Manaus City.
Stake leaders from Manaus stakes
Marivaldo (CTS) helping with the training
We have felt very good about the training we have done in Manaus. It was worth the trip. Now we have Belém and Fortaleza to come.

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