|Tom likes Tusker beer, a local brew, usually at KES $300, US $3.52, per liter when ordered at a bar or in a restaurant. What’s with that look on his face?|
Dining out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays have been an excellent balance for us. Overall, the food has been good, the service consistently good and the ambiance in most cases, ideal with most resorts located on the Indian Ocean.
The cool ocean breezes with fewer mosquitoes with the strong breezes (in most cases) and with someone else doing the cooking and cleanup dining out has been a welcomed relief, spaced out for these specific days of the week.
|Last night, before the power, went out at The Cave.|
Yesterday, we’d decided to give Ali Barbour’s The Cave Restaurant another try after a first mediocre meal in September, shortly after we’d arrived at Diani Beach. Last night’s meal was hardly disappointing, pleasantly surprising both of us with well seasoned, beautifully presented, and delicious meals.
My dinner ranked in the top three on my list of favorite meals in Kenya. Tom, “Mr. Meat and Potatoes” was also pleased with his meal. Definitely requiring one more return to The Cave in our remaining 17 days before leaving on November 30th.
|The Cave, after the power went out which came back on promptly after the generators were started.|
True to our expectations as described in yesterday’s post, we didn’t receive our drinks until 15 minutes after being seated and we waited no less than 30 minutes after requesting our bill. The restaurant was busy. We waited patiently.
The power had gone out twice during our dinner to be restored within a few minutes by the use of a generator. It’s not unusual for the power to go out in Kenya. We didn’t flinch.
Our bill after tipping the server came to a total of KES $4600, US $54.51 with a remaining tip to pay for the shuttle driver that had picked us up (20 minutes earlier than planned) and would be returning us home.
|The fresh flowers at the base of the lantern at our table.|
Walking up the uneven stone steps to the reception area, we found four other patrons awaiting a ride, a group of male 20 somethings who’d apparently had a good time based on their loud banter and pushy behavior.
Speaking in a language we didn’t understand, it was obvious they were annoyed with having to wait for a few minutes for the shuttle driver to return from another drop-off. Tom and I had seen these four guys only minutes earlier in the dining area. They couldn’t have been waiting for more than five minutes.
Sitting in the living-room-like reception area, all facing one another, Tom and I were prepared for a wait. The Maasai restaurant greeter also sat in this area trying to appease the four impatient guests as they obviously grumbled over a potentially short wait.
|Tom’s dinner of Beef Stroganoff (no noodles), fries, and ketchup. Yep, he ate the bread in the basket to which I made no comment or facial expression.|
Within two minutes of sitting down, they instructed the Maasai greeter to call them a taxi. He made the call explaining the taxi would arrive in five minutes Apparently, they spoke English. They had chosen to forgo the complimentary shuttle to bring them back to their hotel.
We both thought, “Oh, good. When the driver returns, he can take us.” In less than a minute, the shuttle driver returned and the Maasai greeter explained in Swahili that the four guys had requested a taxi. The shuttle driver motioned to us to get into the awaiting van, as he opened the sliding door. We complied.
Bolting out of the parking lot in an obvious hurry, we flew down the long bumpy road from the ocean to the highway, as we heard the driver talking on his cell phone. Almost at the highway on the narrow road, with no place to turn around, the driver, not saying a word to us, began driving backward to return to the restaurant.
|This is the protein portion of my dinner, a shrimp cocktail on a bed of crisp cabbage. It was the best shrimp cocktail I’ve had in years. The veggie portion of my dinner is in the below photo.|
I must admit, he drove well going backward such a long distance on the bumpy narrow road. Had it been me in such a hurry, I’d have been all over the road driving backward. Tom would have done as well as him.
We assumed that the driver was called to return to the restaurant to pick up other guests when, in fact, the four guys had decided they didn’t want to wait a couple more minutes for the “already on its way” taxi. This obviously infuriated the driver, who began apologizing to us to which we both said, “hakuna matata” which translates to “no problem or no worry” in English.
The four guys piled into the van requiring Tom to get out to let them in the back seats. I stayed put, suddenly feeling a need to put my seat belt on. The driver was speaking to the four guys in both Swahili and English explaining that “you can’t cancel a taxi after it’s on its way. You still have to pay.”
|This grilled veggie platter was heavenly, cooked to perfection, seasoned with local spice, and grilled with a light glaze of olive oil and butter. The white rectangles are slices of imported Parmesan cheese. What a meal! I ate every morsel of both dishes.|
The four guys didn’t respond well to his comments as the driver continued to explain that they’d still have to pay the taxi, giving him the money to bring back to the taxi driver in the amount of KES $500, US $5.86. They refused. They all became very irritated.
At this point the driver turned around, as he’s driving down the unlit main road at a high speed, asking us if it was OK if he dropped the four guys off first and then head to our house. Again, we said, “hakuna matata.” Again, he thanked us profusely.
The chatter back and forth escalated during the 10-minute drive to the hostel (not hotel) where the four guys were staying. Once arriving at the hostel, the van driver insisted they pay the 500 schillings, and again, they refused, saying they’d pay KES $300, US $3.52. They exited the van, loudly grumbling with tempers flaring.
The van driver explained that he’d have to pay the taxi driver for him taking his fare by van, instead of using the ordered taxi. We didn’t blame him for his frustration. What a bunch of jerks!
|This is Tom’s foot next to the largest semi-poisonous millipede we’ve seen since arriving in Kenya. Tom with his frequent verbal slips continually refers to these common creatures as “minipedes.” Not so mini, Tom Lyman. He scooped it into the dustpan placing it back into the yard. It will be back. Can you imagine stepping on that in bare feet during the night? Is it any wonder that I put my moccasins in the bed with me?|
During this period, with the multiple language barriers and Tom’s hard of hearing issues (after 42 years on the railroad), he had a hard time determining what was transpiring, other than the visual on the angry driver and the four guys.
It was clear enough to me. My concern escalated along with their tempers. Was a fight about to break out? Was someone going to pull a knife or a gun? We were trapped in the vehicle. I recalled that after we’d arrived at the restaurant, that the door to the van could only be opened from the outside after we tried to open it several times from the inside.
Again, in a flash, the driver turned to us apologizing. This time, we didn’t say “hakuna matata.” Instead, Tom said, “Let’s go,” in a non-threatening manner. Hesitating for a moment, the driver weighed his options, either stay and turn this into a nightmare or, leave. We waited for his decision. He looked from the guys, to us in the back seat and made a decision.
He left, speeding crazily down the bumpy dirt road back to the main road.
Sighing a sigh of relief, we were ecstatic to be on our way, although his angry driving made us wonder if we’d make it back in one piece. Again, a sigh of relief, escaped my breath, as we approached our first security gate and then our second where Jeremiah, our guard, waited for us unlocking the gate and letting us in.
Finally back in our outdoor living room at 10:00 pm, Jessie and Gucci at our sides, I decided to go to bed. With the days of rain last week, the mosquito population was over the top and I hardly felt like changing into my BugsAway clothing. Then, Tom spotted this giant “minipede” (actually a millipede), scooping it up, placing it back in the yard. (See above photo).
The comfort and safety of the mosquito netting around the bed, the overhead fan, and a new book downloaded to my smartphone, I was content to call it a day. Tom, on the other hand, quickly changed into his BugsAway clothing, grabbed his laptop to stay outside for another hour.
My last thought before tucking my phone and my flashlight under my pillow and nodding off, “Whew!