A pleasant respite from the heat…The moon over the Indian Ocean on a windy night…Dinner cost how much?

A “house” dog is commonly seen at beachfront restaurants to warn of unwelcomed visitors entering the property from the beach and to chase off animals and rodents.

With the seasons reversed south of the equator, it’s spring in Kenya, comparable to warm May in many other parts of the world.  In many tropical regions throughout the world the temperature differences from spring to summer are usually only few degrees.

The beachfront restaurant is simple and unassuming. Sand  crabs are constantly scurrying across the floor.  It’s very dark inside in an effort to conserve on power.

When we arrive in South Africa on December 1st, it will be comparable to June in countries north of the equator with temperatures ranging from 70F to 105F, 21C  to 40C.  Cooler at night as it is here, we’re prepared for the heat in South Africa, hoping the humidity will be less than Diani Beach on the sea.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the AC (although not central air) will work well for those extremely hot nights.  We’ve managed the low 90F’s, 32C’s in Kenya without AC but there’s a huge difference at 105F, 40C.

I caught Tom off guard here.  You can see his hair blowing and his shirt blowing open.

Yesterday, with both of us feeling the full effect of the weather at 90F’s, 32C’s, day, we were pleased we’d made our third dinner reservation at the Blue Marlin.  By far, this entirely outdoor restaurant is the coolest thus far and we’ve found the food to be consistently excellent.

The moment we arrived to the Blue Marlin we knew we’d come to the right place.  Situated on the beach with no shades obstructing the ocean breezes (as done in many other restaurants, last night the wind was powerful. We didn’t care.  The cool breeze sucked the humidity off of our skin and clothing in minutes, leaving us refreshed and relaxed. 

I hadn’t felt this cool since we’d spent three nights at the Sands on our mini holiday over our travel anniversary with the air conditioner on all night enabling us to sleep with a blanket on.  In our bed here we have only a seldom used sheet.  I’ve always enjoyed the feel of heavy weight covers.  Ha!  Not here.

The Blue Marlin’s namesake.  It almost doesn’t look real although it is.

It had been two weeks since we’d last dined at Blue Marlin, during a pelting rain storm.  The long walk, including up and down steep stone steps with no handrails, was treacherous during that storm but less so last night in dry weather.

The usual uncomfortable beach chairs at the tables prompted me to ask for a chair with a sturdy back, readily available at other tables.  Our server graciously made the switch and, I was in heaven, never wanting to leave. 

Ah, the simple things.  I don’t recall ever moaning with pleasure over a breeze in our old lives.  From time to time, a cool ocean breezes wafts over us during the day in our outdoor living room.  It never lasts. On each occasion, we both mention it, often wishing it would last longer.  It never does.

Every day, local fisherman bring their catch to the restaurants for sale.  To our surprise there
was never any fresh fish for sale at the Nakumatt grocery store.

Last night, the breeze didn’t stop for a moment.  Had my exquisite piece of fish not been so huge, it may have flown off of my plate.  I held onto the delectable huge portion for dear life. Tom indulged in “chips’ (French fries) and Swahili fish.  I giggled when I saw his “chips” quivering in the wind on his plate.  There was no way he was letting one of those fly off, I assure you!

Snapping a few mindless photos shown here today, having shown similar photos of the Blue Marlin in a previous post, I found myself doing so with a greater attachment to the place.

Arriving at 7:00 pm, we both lolly gagged after eating, wanting to extend the relaxing time a little longer.  By 9:00 pm, knowing that most likely Alfred was waiting in the parking area, we called him to say we were ready to go.  We had warned him we’d be two hours. This time he didn’t call us to ask if we were ready to go.

Our entire bill for dinner including Tom’s two bottles of beer and ice tea for me, including the tax and tip came to a grand total of KES $3200.00, US $37.52.  The taxi was KES $1100, US $12.90, a fixed fee we negotiated with Alfred on our first day in Kenya which covers anywhere we decide to go in Diani Beach.  Of course, in 10 days when we go to the airport in Mombasa, we’ll pay him KES $5000, US $58.62 for the hour long drive and ferry ride.

Tom’s dinner consisted of Swahili, a coconut flavored sauce over the catch of the day. He actually ate a few bites of his veggies.  I always tell him that fried potatoes (referred to here as “chips”) don’t count as a vegetable!

A short drive down the main road and we’d returned to our neighborhood. The guards unlocked the main gate to let us in (they now recognize us and Alfred’s car), with Jeremiah unlocking the gates to our two house compound and we were home.  No breeze.  Too early for bed. Mosquitoes promptly gathering around us.

Rather than complain, we dressed in our BugsAway clothing (our best travel investment to date), hauled out my laptop and watched another episode of Downton Abbey, Season 4, Episode 6. (It won’t be released in the US until January 2014 but has been available for download, one episode at a time, from Graboid every Monday after it’s been shown on TV in the UK on Sunday nights).

Mindless drivel. We loved every moment as we always do.  Afterward, I called it a night while Tom stayed up with his laptop.  With a good ebook to read on my phone, the respite under the mosquito netting is always comforting.

Look at the size of my fresh caught rainbow fish.  Not a single bone, perfectly cooked in garlic butter with grilled vegetables and a side of homemade mayo.  Superb!

However, changing for bed is not a pleasant experience for me.  The bugs are amped up at night and I often find something on or near my skimpy cotton night clothes.  Last night, after I’d washed my face I used my hanging towel to dry off.  I felt something crunchy on my cheek.  It was a large brown beetle, the same color of the towel, easy to miss. 

This time I did scream and Tom came running.  The beetle had run off.  Gross.  Very gross.  I got that squeamish look on my face, perhaps lasting through the night. 

Yes, I always shake out my clothing and shoes before putting them on and also, my bath towel before drying after a shower.  But now, I’ve added shaking out my bath towel before using it to wipe my hands or face.

The fierce winds moved the dark cloud across the moon.  It was fun to watch the constantly changing appearance.

After that incident, I did my usual “flash light check” of the entire bedroom; corners, walls, ceilings, and under the bed, before climbing in.  One might assume that a full-round mosquito netting protects during the night.  Not the case. “Whatever” may crawl up the legs to the bed, the frame and the headboard to work their way in. Oddly, we are somehow able to sleep through the night.

Don’t think for a moment that these reactions to this huge scary looking insects is exclusively mine.  Tom, too, although braver than I, cringes and gets the freaked out look on his face as well.  Our fear is not the sight of the insect as the potential for a serious injury as a result from a sting or bite with our mutual allergies.

We anxiously waited for the moon’s full reveal as the clouds quickly moved. Notice
a slight reflection on the ocean below.

Then, one may ask, why did we come to Kenya?  We knew about the many risks.  It was all about challenging ourselves. And, as we prepare to leave in 10 days, we don’t have one regret.  The varied experiences, by far, outweigh the bad.  We’ve seen and done that which we’d never have done had we stayed in the US, as “normal” retired folks, moving to a condo in a warm climate.

This morning, Hans stopped by to explain why the security alarms were blaring  at 8:00 am.  Apparently, the neighbors were burning garbage (illegal here but hard to control) and the fire had gotten out of hand.  Luckily, it was promptly put out.  This entire compound had burned to the ground several years ago due to an out-of-control garbage fire.  These thatch roofs rapidly ignite. 

The final review or, as much as we saw in the 2 hours at the Blue Marlin.
Whether it’s concerns over safety, security, insect bites, malaria (we take pills), illness, food poisoning from local restaurants (we only dine at resorts), potential fires, auto accidents (no highway patrol), the risks are many.

Keeping safe has been our primary concern and yes, we may obsess about it from time to time. But 90% of our time, our lives have been enriched by this time in Kenya and…we leave here with great stories to tell and memories we’ll relive over and over again in years to come.


4 thoughts on “A pleasant respite from the heat…The moon over the Indian Ocean on a windy night…Dinner cost how much?

  1. Isabel@FS Reply

    Another fabulous dinner and exotic breezes – sounds marvellous. But again the bug thing – yuk – you are amazing. I don't know if I could shut my eyes – do you leave a light on 🙂 Thank you for your kind comments. I recently found Jonathan Bailor – SANE-ity program – and that's where I found you! I have been low carbing since 2010. Thankfully I have no allergies that I am aware of. I have been trying to lose weight this entire time, down about 60 lb but still got a ways to go. I am 57, married, one 29 year old single daughter, no grandkids, still working full time. That's it in a very small nutshell. And I appreciated the additional info on this post re the bugs and security issues, etc. I was sure you had seen by comment by the 'extra' info you included (re the bugs and security, and retirement etc – thank you). Enjoy your last few days in Kenya. Glad you got your suitcase unzipped. Did you post off your other belongings yet? That is a smart idea to avoid the cost of excess baggage if it's not too expensive to send it on. It's -5 celcius in Ontario today so enjoy those tropical breezes. Oh and your dinner looked amazing. I would have stolen a 'chip' or two, but your food looked much more appetizing to me. Love fish – mmmm.

  2. Anonymous Reply

    So glad you got some relief from the heat and enjoyed the Blue Marlin Restaurant. Tom looked really relaxed and Dan can relate to the joys of the 2 beers. The pictures of your food always makes me hungry and want to find a restaurant here that serves good sea food. It is funny that Tom does not eat many vegetables and they are your lifeline. But french fries are really yummy!

    South Africa sounds challenging also with the temperature reaching 105F. But at least you will have air conditioning. The 90F in Diani Beach with no air conditioning sounded tough to me.

    You are very brave to be able to cope with all the insects and then be able to sleep at night.

    I don't think you can obsess too much when it comes to your safety. It sounds like you and Tom have learned a lot on how to handle different situations.

    Dan called me tonight around 5:30pm and said he just shot his deer and was processing it. He was so proud of himself, since he went deer hunting especially because our oldest daughter, with the 6 kids, loves to eat deer. And, surprisingly, her kids and husband like it too. So when I called her to tell her she will have deer meat this winter, she was so excited and called out to the kids. They were happy for their grandpa because last year when he went, he was not able to shoot one. He saw one but when he shot, he missed it. So his friend gave my daughter some of his. I, on the other hand, am not particularly fond of deer meat. I will cook and eat it but I do not like the taste. When I soak it overnight in milk, it takes some of the wild taste out. But, naturally, Dan does not like for me to soak it. He likes the wild taste. So there you have it.

    So Dan will be home tomorrow, Thursday. He said it was raining after he shot the deer and then he walked over half an hour trying to find where it died. Then he and his friend had to clean it and then drag it to the car. It was fun to hear the excitement in his voice.

    I did take time out of my usual cleaning and running errands to sit and read part of a book. I think I could get really hooked on reading if given these chances. I have found an author I really like. Her name is Francine Rivers and she writes mostly Christian novels. She can really make the story line interesting and hard to stop reading once into to it.

    Keep smiling!

  3. Jessica Reply

    Hi again, Isabel! So nice of you to write again! To answer your question…no, we don't sleep with a light on but I keep a small LED flashlight under my pillow all night in case I feel or hear something which does happen.

    As for you…wow…down 60 pounds! That's quite an accomplishment! The LCHF (low carb,high fat) lifestyle is quite a commitment but science and YOU proves it works (as well as mine and Tom's stories of healing).

    Jonathan and I have been in touch off and on. He was a big support to me as well. Did you see my story on his website? Or the recent story on Dr. David Perlmutter's (Grain Brain) site? It's fun to share our stories with the hope of helping others. You should write your story of to them as well and to Dr. William Davis (Wheat Belly), all of which is about keeping blood sugar under control through a low carb, grain, sugar and starch free way of eating.

    As for the answer about our sending our boxes, I started packing them this morning but we need more boxes after all so today we go to Nakumatt for our final grocery shopping where they use boxes instead of bags to pack the stuff. We are curious how much it will cost but we will post it once we're done.

    Sounds cool in Ontario! It was 99F here yesterday and so humid, hottest day yet. You've got a cold winter on the rise. It's a trade off, hot or cold. There seems to be no middle ground for us so far. Maybe Hawaii will be

    Thanks again for writing. Please write anytime you'd like. I never tire of reading comments and responding. And, congrats on your success and continued commitment to LC.

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

  4. Jessica Reply

    Hi, Pat! Good to hear from you as always! Please congratulate Dan for his deer. What a lot of work. He's quite the trooper. I understand what you mean about eating deer meat. We don't like it either so Tom never bothered to hunt. He wouldn't even eat the fish he used to catch unless it was battered and fried.

    It's funny but Isabel also commented on our sleeping at night. Please read what I wrote in response to her inquiry.

    So glad you took time to relax and read. In my old life I never read anything that wasn't educational in one way or another, mostly books on science and health. Now I read mostly novels, mindless dribble that makes me smile with happy endings.

    Well, I think I need to pack a little today before it gets too hot. It's so hard to get motivated in the heat when all I feel like doing is lounging, an oddity for me.

    Enjoy giving your man lots of hugs on his "he man" hunt! And, I suppose, make some of that meat this weekend.

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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