Last evening, when we arrived early at restaurant Benihana in Minneapolis to celebrate our grandson Vincent’s 17th birthday, we sat at the bar and ordered two drinks. I ordered nine oz. of Pinot Grigio, a little less than two glasses in a small carafe, and Tom ordered one Michelob Golden Light.
The total bill for the two drinks was US $39.75, ZAR 697.84, not including a tip. Our mouths were agape when we paid the bill. We don’t spend that much on dinner, drinks, tax, and tips at Jabula on a typical Friday or Saturday night, ordering anything off the menu we could possibly want.
However, this was only the tip of the iceberg. The cost of the dinner was yet to come. Tammy, Tracy, Vincent, and Tracy’s mom Lena were in attendance for six of us. Of course, the concept of teppanyaki is fun and festive, and we all expected to pay a little more than in a typical mid-range restaurant.
We usually pay the bill when we go out to dinner with our kids and grandkids. But this time, Tammy and Tracy insisted on paying for their own meals while Tom and I would pay for the two of us. I’m glad we had that arrangement on this specific occasion. I don’t mean to be a “tightwad,” but the total bill for all of us, excluding our drinks (we never ordered more), was US $494.87, ZAR 8687.84. Had we paid for everything, the total bill would have been $534.62, ZAR 9384.10. Can you believe it?
Thanks, Tammy and Tracy, for paying for the four of you. Our bill, separate from the above total, was US $159.62, ZAR 2802.26. We’d already lost a ton of money with this Seychelles fiasco and surely would have flinched for this outrageous bill which included a 20% service fee, and yet the server asked us for cash for more tips. Oh, good grief! Don’t ask! Tacky.
All of us agreed we’d never return after those outrageous charges. Prices have obviously increased since the pandemic, and we appreciate the dilemma the establishments have had to face. But, goodness, consider diners’ reactions and interest in returning.
Yes, the food was good, but none of us ordered the most expensive items on the menu. Nonetheless, Vincent enjoyed his birthday dinner, and we all had a lovely time. We were out the door two hours from the time we arrived. It was windy, cold, and snowing, so we said our goodbyes and headed back to our hotel.
Tammy and Tracy are leaving for a week’s holiday in California while grandma Lena stays at the house with Vincent. We’ll be gone when they return, so our goodbye was for now, although we’ll be returning in nine months, spending time with everyone once away.
This morning, at 9:30, we’re driving to the town of Shakopee to meet up with Greg’s family for brunch at a popular restaurant. Hopefully, everyone is feeling well, and we’ll all be able to be together for the first time since we arrived one week ago today. We’ve been here for one week since we arrived last Saturday afternoon. It seems like a long time ago that we shopped at Target, exhausted and dirty after wearing the same clothes and underwear for 56 hours.
Hopefully, the return flight in five days will be easier than this most recent one. When we arrive in Johannesburg next Friday, we’ll be staying overnight. Otherwise, we’d have had to drive in the dark to Marloth Park, which is way too dangerous on the N4 at night due to “spiking,” carjackings, and murders.
If all goes well and we arrive in Marloth Park after driving during daylight hours from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger airport to Marloth Park, we should arrive in the afternoon. If we’re well rested, we’ll head to Jabula for dinner. We’re looking forward to seeing our friends, Leon and Dawn, and any other locals who may have stopped by for sundowners and dinner.
Of course, amid all this travel, we’ll be searching for the status of our missing baggage. We’ll keep you updated on the results.
That’s it for today, folks. It’s time for us to head out for breakfast with Greg’s family. We’ll be back with more tomorrow.
Photo from one year ago today, December 3, 2021: