Oh, oh, we screwed up again!….Photos from the Sydney Opera House…

There are many interesting dining spots with exquisite views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge along the walk to the Sydney Opera House.

After all these years of meticulously planning our travels, we’ve screwed up once again; once for our current dreadful immigration status in Australia and again, my error only, on the night we’d booked tickets for the Sydney Opera House…I failed in carefully reading our ticket confirmation to discover it was on Sunday night, not Saturday.

This was Tom before he knew we’d arrived to the opera on the wrong date. The ship in the background is the Emerald Princess, a line we’ve never experienced.

I’d booked the tickets last April receiving an online confirmation which I’d copied and pasted into my online calendar placing it under Saturday, not Sunday.  If I’d reviewed it carefully lately, as I should have, it would have been easy to determine the tickets were for Sunday night (tonight), not last night.

The Opera Quay building along the walk.

Off we went with Bob dropping us at the Manly Ferry in the pouring rain with umbrella and parkas keeping us relatively dry.  We waiting for 15 minutes for the ferry and boarded for the 30 minute ride in rough waters due to the stormy conditions.

As we approached the Sydney Opera House we noticed almost everyone had a camera or phone in hand.

Upon arrival at Circular Quay in Sydney, the sun had peeked out and we walked for 20 minutes on the esplanade along the bay to the opera house.  Climbing the zillions of steps to the entrance, we found our way to the ticket office where our tickets were awaiting us.

There’s no doubt that after dark, these tables will be filled with diners.

Alas, we were informed the opera for which we’d purchased tickets didn’t occur until today.  We were one day early.  Oh, my.  Mr. Overly Grumpy reared his ugly head for about 10 minutes while I racked my brain as to how I could possibly make such an error. 

Bennelong Lawn, Royal Botanic Gardens is located next to the Sydney Opera House.

I could have made all the excuses in the world such as not feeling quite well yet, the immigration thing, the missing package from the US, and my sister’s recent possibility of recurring cancer (a scare, after all) that kept my brain flooded with worries during the recent cruise and since our arrival one week ago.

I was dressed to warm for ths humid weather.

But excuses always fail me.  I tend to leave them in the dust instead simply admitting my mistake and cheerfully, in my usual “overly bubbly” manner, move on.  Mr. Grumpy was having none of that.  For 10 minutes, he was rather annoying. 

Visitors sitting on the steps of the Sydney Opera House enjoying the view.

Suddenly, I suggested we make it fun that we were already in Sydney and enjoy the amazing area and views of the bay, Circular Quay, the Opera House and the people watching.  “How about it we go to dinner, have a drink, smile and have a good time?” I asked.  He was game.

Moments later we were seated in a lovely restaurant, Searock Grill, with mouth watering smells wafting through the air, ordering a beer for Tom and a wine for me, while the mood became uplifting and cheerful.  After all, this was no big deal in the realm of things.

Grilled chicken salad with tomatoes, radishes and sprouts with a side or garlic aoili.

I apologized for my error.  Tom apologized for being “overly grumpy” and we ended up having a great time.  Today, we’ll return to the Manly Ferry to give it another try.  This time, we’ll take the local bus to the ferry since Bob isn’t available. 

Tom’s double filet fish and chips. He ordered ketchup on the side for the chips.

We plan to dine early again, before the 5 pm opera, since its less crowded in the restaurants and lately, with my condition, dining earlier rather than later seems to serve me well with less discomfort into the evening. 

Tom’s beer, Great Northern Brewing Co. was named the same as one of the predecessor railroads he worked for many moons ago.

Oddly enough, we’d like to return to the same restaurant today after we’d read menus for every restaurant along the esplanade.  Yesterday’s restaurant,  was  easily able to accommodate my diet with a delicious grilled chicken salad along with with a satisfying plate of fish and chips for Tom, photos of which are included here today.

Ferry arriving at the wharf.  There’s a constant flow of ferries heading to and fro many areas around the bay.

Based on the early arrival time, we were allowed the benefit of the lunch menu pricing and our total bill with one glass of beer, one glass of wine and our two meals totaled AU $50.60, US $38.92!  The same items were priced about 40% higher after 5 pm.  That works for us!

This is the pier where we boarded our past six cruises with hopefully, one more to go with  immigration situation hopefully resolved.

After dinner we enjoyed the leisurely walk back to Wharf #3 where with only a short wait for the next ferry. Back at our cozy house in Fairlight, we settled in for the remainder of the evening, watched a few shows and dozed off by 11 pm.

Happy face back on…

We’ll be back tomorrow with the results of our second foray to the Sydney Opera House, hopefully getting it right this time!

Happy day!

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Photo from one year ago today, March 19, 2016:

The beach in Opunake, New Zealand, one year ago.  We’ve experienced plenty of rainy weather in our world travels.  But, we try to take it in stride and make the best of it.  As indicated in today’s post bad weather doesn’t prevent us from planned activities, although we may not venture out if our plans are open.  For more details, please click here.

Perpendicular Deli, Espresso Bar, Restaurant and shop… A “not-to-be-missed” stop for tourists and locals…

 
Talk about friendly people in Penguin!  Karen and Daniel, owners of Perpendicular are the epitome of Australian (and Penguin) warmth and kindness making every patron walking through the door feeling as if this special spot could easily be a second home.

When Terry, our new friend and landlord told us about Perpendicular Deli, Espresso Bar, Restaurant and shop, located off Main Street, only a short walk from our vacation home in Penguin, Tasmania, we couldn’t resist making a visit.

 
Karen and Daniel, both Australians, the thoughtful, creative and friendly owners were quick to share their story of dreaming of owning a business in this quaint oceanfront town. 

Perpendicular Deli, Espresso Bar, Restaurant and Shop is located off Main Street in Penguin, Tasmania at 7 Arnold Street (behind the big bargain bottle shop). Note the penguin on the roof!  Easy parking is available in the lot as shown and on the street.

During this past year, they’ve made their dreams a reality with hard work and dedication, a customer friendly design, easy to access location and the finest of food products and amenities. 

 
In the process, a casual, French inspired café, barista and restaurant was born to further the dining needs of the residents of Penguin who’ve had few dining establishments in this small town of a population of approximately 4000.

Casual dining area in Perpendicular!  Breakfast is served from 6:30 am to 10 am and dinner  is served from 5:30 pm six days a week.  Perpendicular is closed on Wednesdays.  Call with questions:  0416 462 162 or (03) 6437 2659 or email Daniel at: daniel@danielmarks.com.au

Penguin attracts tourists from all over the world for its beautiful beaches, water sports, quaint persona and habitat for the small Fairy Penguins.  When tourists arrive in a community, having a variety of dining establishments becomes a must.
 
Travelers staying in holiday homes with cooking facilities usually have little interest in preparing complicated time consuming meals.  Those staying in hotels often seek a local and inviting venue that enables them to dress casually, enjoy delicious meals in a relaxed environment and be on their way to sightsee and engage in water sports and other activities. 

A comprehensive display of oils and condiments befitting cooks of all experience.

Perpendicular totally fulfils that objective when either local residents or tourists are seeking quality foods to enjoy onsite or to takeaway for a fast and convenient meal, delicious with the finest of ingredients Perpendicular has readily available.

 
After days of cloudy skies, this morning we stopped at Perpendicular to take an additional outdoor photo.  When we’d previously visited Karen and Daniel before Christmas the day was dark and cloudy. 

The deli case includes a variety of meats, cheeses, olives and more.  On the top shelf of the refrigerated case noticed the huge chunks of homemade nougat candy.  That was a tempting!  The shelf above the refrigerated case contains an array of sweet treats and other gourmet items.  Prices are very reasonable for the quality products.

This morning, rushing to return to complete this post, we drove as opposed to walking to Perpendicular.  Once Tom parked the car so I could take the outdoor photo we’ve included today, I decided to pop in to say hello and to purchase the olive oil based feta cheese Daniel had mentioned on our prior visit. 

Terry explained that Perpendicular carries the exact same Caraway Cheddar we’d
 purchased by mail from the Pyengana cheese factory. Almost a month ago we stopped at the cheese factory on our road trip from Hobart to Penguin purchasing one block of this cheese.  Once we were settled we called Pyengana to order a 10 block supply by mail.  Now that we know Perpendicular carries this brand, we can purchase it locally at Perpendicular.

Today for our main meal, I’m making myself a jumbo prawn salad with chopped hardboiled eggs, olives, tomatoes and cheese.  Of course,  I knew the perfect cheese for such a salad would definitely be a quality feta.

After we returned home, I opened the package of feta cheese for a taste and my taste buds soared with delight.  I can’t wait for mealtime!  Tom, not a big fan of salads with meat (except taco salad), will have grilled steak with prawns, a side salad and veggies. 

A superb barista section prepares a wide array of coffee based beverages for the most finicky of espresso aficionados.

We’re excited to have found Perpendicular Deli, Espresso Bar and Providore and look forward to stopping by a few more times for meats and cheeses during our remaining two weeks in this amazing town of Penguin.

 Happy New Year’s Day to our friends on the opposite side of the International Dateline!  For us, the holidays are over and its another “wonderful day in the neighborhood.”    
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Photo from one year ago today, January 2, 2016:

The pool at the vacation home in Pacific Harbour, Fiji was pristine being cleaning three times a week. We spent many days during the one month stay on the island of Viti Levu (the main island of Fiji) lounging outdoors.  For more details please click here.

Credit card compromised…How to handle…Out to dinner with friends in Fiji…

Danny, Samantha, me and Tom, standing outside our house in Pacific Harbour, Fiji.

Handling our five credit cards requires a certain amount of attention other than simply paying off the balance each month.  With the huge amounts we charge on the cards often including rents for three months, full cruise fares, pricey airline tickets, long term car rentals, groceries and dining out.  The new statements can be well into the thousands on a given month.

Keeping an eye on these expenses for their accuracy and for any potential  unknown expenses, excess fees or instances of fraud drives me to check online every few days. 

With a tile for each credit card company on my touch screen desktop in Windows 8, it takes only seconds to log in and check each of the five cards with the fact they’re all from only two banks making the process easier.  Seldom, do we find an error.  When we do, we contact the toll free number on the card and get to work to solve the problem.

Last year around this same time, one of the credit card companies had contacted us by phone and email to notify us of fraud charges that hadn’t yet posted in “pending transactions” making it impossible for us to see online. 


Danny’s curry dinner which he said was good.

The credit card company’s system is sophisticated enough to be able to pick up “test” charges used by credit card fraud companies and individuals to determine if they will in fact be able to use the card for larger purchases.

Over the past year, most of our cards have been replaced with the supposedly more secure cards containing “computerized chips.”  However, having these cards with chips hasn’t prevented fraud on the cards.

A few days ago, we received a fraud alert to which I immediately responded with a phone call.  Yes, Tom’s card number with a chip which replaced his compromised card last December was compromised and charges had started rolling in, first in “test” charges for $1 and then hotel bills and fuel charges in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. 

How did this happen?  This occurred both last year and this year (in December)on the card we use most often when Tom usually handles the checking-out using that particular card when we’re dining out and purchasing products and groceries. 

We’ve been in Fiji for almost four months.  Most likely at some establishment where we’d paid using the card, the number was noted and “sold” to those who conduct such illegal behavior across the globe. 


The upper portion of my plate contained the salad with the entrée on the bottom right.  There was a tiny portion of squid, perhaps a tablespoon.  To balance my meals carbs and protein, I must eat a larger portion of protein at least 6 ounces.  Thus, I ordered a small steak which worked well.  (Plate appears larger in this photo).

The fact that we’re in Fiji didn’t necessarily create a greater risk.  This transpires throughout the world in billions of dollars each year.  No one is exempt from the potential risk.

It may surprise some but when this happens, its not a personally serious situation.  It is definitely not as serious and destructive as “identity theft” when a person’s entire credit profile is compromised which may result in life changing destruction of one’s entire credit worthiness.  A compromised credit card is a simple process for the customer:

1.  Immediately respond to the email and/of phone card from the credit card. Those with late payments or a poor credit card history may hesitate to return the call when they may assume the call is for collection purposes.  Failure to respond to the inquiry can, in fact, create a more difficult situation after the fraudulent charges have been posted.

2. The quicker one returns the call the better, using the phone number on the back of the card (for added security).  The bank’s fraud department wants to decipher which charges the customer actually made as opposed to those charges made fraudulently to avoid further fraudulent charges.  When doing so, the customer will not be charged any amount for the fraudulently charges.  The concept that you’ll only be charged the first USD $50 is not true, unless you are aware of some obscure stipulation in the bank’s regulations that allows for such a charge.  Its unlikely.

3.  Carefully review all the charges you’ve made with the fraud department representative  We’ve read online that there have been a few rare instances whereby customers of less than ideal ethics attempted to pass off some of their own purchases as fraudulent when they were not, hoping they’d “go away” during this process.  This behavior, it itself, is fraud and may result in termination of the card, bad credit ratings and possible legal charges. 

4.  Upon the bank’s recommendation destroy the card from which the charges were made and any other cards with the same number.  The card will no long work after the company has posted the number as compromised.  We usually cut the card into tiny pieces and dispose of the pieces. Even if the card could be pieced together as in a puzzle the fact the number has been flagged, it would never work anyway.


Tom and Samantha had the burger topped with egg and fries.

5.  When the new card arrives in the mail, immediately sign and activate the card which has a new number. Visit every website where you may have stored the card for frequent purchases and change both the number and expiration date which will also be new or next time you make a purchase it will be declined. The three or four digit number of the back near your signature will also have changed.  Use your best judgment, only releasing this number on highly secure and reputable sites.

Done and done. When chip technology is used on a shared account, Tom and I each have a separate number as opposed to sharing the same card number.  Thus, my card, a different number, wasn’t compromised.  Until we receive the new card in an upcoming supplies shipment while in NZ, we’ll use other cards or my same card for this particular account.

While traveling, every 60 days we contact the credit card companies either by phone or online to notify them of “travel alerts,” specifically in which countries we’ll be using the card including when we’re in the US in May, 2017.  The alerts only last 60 days.  This information prevents the card being declined when rightfully making purchases while traveling.  This must be done each time one leaves their home country to avoid the resulting embarrassment and delays.

Feel free to contact us if any of this is confusing, or better yet, your credit card provider with specific personal inquiries.

On to the second part of today’s post. First off, our newly made friends, Samantha and Danny (he’s from Minnesota, she’s from Wisconsin…small world) have left Fiji to return to their now home in Seattle where Danny returns to his medical residency (sure, Tom asked if Danny worked at “Seattle Grace”) and Samantha to her social work practice.

We noticed the lily pad flowers close at night as darkness fell while we dined at Oasis Restaurant.

You may ask, “How do we refer to people we met for short periods as “friends? Doesn’t a friendship require time and nurturing?”

In this life, with access only to short term relationships, we prefer to call those with whom we especially connect and interact in social settings, as friends.  For us, these short term interactions possess a special meaning often staying in touch for years to come. 

Dinner at the Oasis Restaurant at the Art Village was enjoyable with the lively conversation between the four of us. Tom enjoyed his burger, as the best of the three burgers he’s had to date in Pacific Harbour. 

My entrée was tricky; the portion tiny although tasty, a spicy squid and vegetable stir fry (no sugar, starch soy sauce or rice).  It was no more than one cup of food with a small side salad without dressing. 

As an “intermittent fasting” advocate consuming one meal, no snacks a day, a one cup portion of food with a salad without dressing won’t cut it. After the small entrée arrived I ordered a steak, which was quite good, cooked to perfection. 

We shared a taxi ride home, hugged goodbye and had the driver take today’s main photo of the four of us, once outside our house.  it was wonderful to spend time with this lovely honeymoon couple and we’re grateful to our host Susan who encouraged our meeting.

Last night, we dined at Baka Blues in the Arts Village which we’ll share in photos and story in an upcoming post in a few days.  For today, we’re content to stay in on a rainy, hot and humid day preparing enough of a dish to last for a few upcoming meals and to freeze the balance for a later date, as we wind down the time in Pacific Harbour, Fiji.

For our readers, take a break from the busy activities of the holiday season, grab a cup of coffee or tea and read our posts as they’ll continue through each day of the season with Tom’s upcoming birthday celebration on the 23rd, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

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Photo from one year ago today, December 20, 2014:

Tom is at the far left.  TJ is in the middle and Jayden is on the far right after they decided they also needed haircuts.  Three generations of Lymans having haircut simultaneously.  Too cute! This was the last day, the hair salon was taking customers.  They were closing the next day for the arrival of the lava flowing from Mount Kilauea. For more info and close up photos, please click here.

Finding our way around the steep mountainous roads of Madeira…Photos of us…

“Nemo” was headed my way as I leaned in to the aquarium inside the restaurant, his cute little mouth sucking in the shape of an “O.”

Online maps  in Madeira, Portugal don’t easily provide directions from our home to where we’d like to go.  The paper maps we have don’t show the smaller streets.  Many roads are one way with no seeming way to get back to where we started.

Although the weather was warm, we’ve been cold while attempting to acclimate after the extreme heat we’d experienced in Morocco, South Africa, Kenya. Thus, Tom’s long sleeves. We both had jackets with us which we will again today with it cool and windy.

With a dinner reservation last night and a red spot on Google Maps showing that the restaurant was on the ocean in Ribeira Brava we figured we could find it.  Gina explained there was a parking ramp below the restaurant.  After a 15 minute drive from Campanario to Ribeira Brava, we were excited to find the parking ramp with the restaurant above.


Taking this photo of us by the boat reminded us of a similar photo in Hopkins Belize over a year ago.

Parking the car in the ramp after taking a ticket (how modern!) the guard motioned us to the elevator to go two floors up to the restaurant.  Meandering out the elevator, we searched for a sign with the name of the restaurant.  Alas, it wasn’t the restaurant where we had a reservation.


When we spotted this sign, we knew we found the “wrong” restaurant deciding to stay for dinner anyway.

We looked at one another, shrugging our shoulders deciding this looked like a great place to dine as we moseyed to the huge chalkboard menu in both English and Portuguese.  We decided to stay.


As soon as we perused this boarded menu we knew we’d be staying for dinner, although we weren’t in the restaurant for which we had a reservation.

The day had been perfect at 72F, 22C and the thought of sitting outdoors along the ocean was appealing.  I felt like a kid in a candy store with a pocket filled with money, flitting about taking photos, practically squealing with delight over the 6:00 pm sunshine, the sound of the surf, the dogs running about and the birdcage and aquarium in the restaurant. 


Dining in the interior of the restaurant may be necessary on rainy or windy days. 

Tom had one of those ” _ _ it” eating grins on his face that wouldn’t stop.  We sat at a comfortable table for four with a crisp linen tablecloth. 

The restaurant view from the sidewalk.  More photos will follow tomorrow with too many to post in one day.

As it turned out, the restaurant, Restaurant and Grill Muralha was listed as #2 on TripAdvisor’s rated dining establishments in Ribeira Brava.  What a stroke of luck!  The restaurant where we’d intended to dine was listed as #4.  We’ll find it next time.

The cozy bar on the interior of the restaurant.

Not only was the menu filled with numerous suitable options for me but also for Tom.  We weren’t certain as to spices used in Portuguese cooking, wondering if we’d be disappointed with overwhelming flavors for which we’d soon tire.  Alas, we were in luck.  Portuguese food is lightly seasoned with spices we found to be not only palatable but familiar, enjoyable over the long haul.


Portugal is known for it’s fine wine worldwide some of which the restaurant proudly displayed.

Tom ordered a beer while I ordered the usual bottle bubbly water.  The food was  beautifully presented, promptly served and hot, mouth watering and delicious.  The portions were huge as shown in these photos.  We devoured every morsel on our plates.  The service was impeccable, friendly and English speaking, to our surprise.




A decorative shelf on the interior of the restaurant.

It was so good that we commented that the others may be a hard act to follow.  With only nine major restaurants in the area with many smaller café and eateries, we’ll return in the future.


Tom ordered the Mixed Grill which he thoroughly enjoyed.  They had swapped the lamb for more steak.  He’d had his fill of lamb in Morocco.  Of course, more “chips.”

Our bill plus tip was the close to the highest we’ve paid since the onset of our travels, US $62.27, EU $45.47.  We didn’t flinch.  Able to cook our own meals, most likely we’ll dine out twice a week.   If all of our restaurant meals were of a similar price, we’ll spend approximately US $1200, EU $876 during our time in Madeira, an amount we’ve budgeted knowing that prices would be higher on this island than many other countries we’ve lived thus far. 


This was the most delicious and sizable salmon steak I’ve ever had in a restaurant. 

Based on our research there are only few restaurants on the island where one could spend more, most of which are in Funchal, a long drive from Campanario.  We’ve always preferred to dine within 15 to 20 minutes of home when, here for example, the mountainous drive is not suitable after Tom after consuming a beer or two. 


My salad and cooked vegetables we fabulous.  I know, I shouldn’t eat raw vegetables but we’re hearing the water is fine here, although we continue to consume bottled water.  There were no comments in the TripAdvisor reviews indicating anyone became ill after eating at this restaurant.

(Since I haven’t driven a car in 16 months, let alone a stick shift which I do know how to drive, we didn’t add me to the contract leaving Tom as the only driver.  In an emergency, I could drive a stick shift if I had to).

This yellow parakeet at the restaurant was checking me out as I attempted to whistle.

After I finish writing today, we’re heading back to the supermarket, the largest in the area, to search for the items we either couldn’t find or forgot to buy in our exhausted state on Friday afternoon.  This time, we’ll translate all the items we couldn’t find into Portuguese hopefully aiding in our search for certain items.


While dining, this fluffy dog came by staring at me, hoping for a morsel.  The waiter scooted her away.  She reminded us of a bigger scruffier version of Jessie of Gucci and Jessie, the two dogs we loved in Kenya.

So far, so good.  We love Madeira, the scenery, the house, the food and the friendly people.   A few days ago, we saw Gina’s dad gardening on the steep hill across the street. I yelled out to him, “Olá, como você está?” which translates to “Hello, how are you?”  Later, he told Gina, “She speaks Portuguese!”  Ha!  We shall see!
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Photo from one year ago today, May 20, 2013:

Our last night on Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Sea, left us feeling a little sad as the end of the most extraordinary cruise we could ever have imagined.  The Pyramids, The Suez Canal, The Lost City of Petra and the Treasury where Indiana Jones was filmed, the excitement of The Gulf of Aden and so much more, added to our wealth of growing experiences.  For details of that final night as the ship made its way to Dubai where we’d stay in a condo for two weeks, please click here.

A perfect day…A long walk deep into the walled city…A diamond in the rough…

Finally, we had reached Pepenero, the French restaurant where we dined yesterday, a long maze like walk through the narrow passageways in the Medina. This was definitely a daytime only trek for us.

It would be impossible to have a rental car while living in the walled city of old Marrakech.  With the necessary 15 minute walk to exit the Medina and wildly busy traffic on the main road, there is  literally no where to park. 

As we made a sharp turn in our walking trip to the restaurant we found many interesting sites along the way.

With many petit taxis imminently available outside the entrance at reasonable negotiated rates, we have no concerns about getting around.  Plus, Samir will arrange for Mohamed to take us anywhere we’d like to go outside the walled city.

On Monday, we’ll do just that.  Mohamed will meet us at outside the wall at noon to take us on a half day excursion to see some the sites outside the Medina.  Monday, with weekend tourists gone, was a good choice.  At the end of the day, we’ll have him drop us off to try a new restaurant on the return drive, perhaps at one of the many fabulous hotels lined up, one after another, on the main road. 

Many of the roads leading to the restaurant were mostly busy with locals shopping for
food and merchandise.

Halfway through our time in Marrakech, we’ll arrange as we often do, to spend three nights at another location, in this case a journey into the Sahara desert and to see the famed Atlas mountains, staying at different locations each night as we work our way deeper into the desert and mountains. We can hardly wait! 

Then again, we make an effort not to spend time fantasizing about what we will be doing, as opposed to what we’re doing now.  As Tom and I always remind one another, “Love the one you’re with!”

As we neared the exit to the Medina, cars were allowed.  Seeing this sign was comforting so we continued on.  We approached a door in this area, thinking it was a public building that we could visit, when we were told by a security guard that it was an entrance to a palace occupied by a king.  Thus, no entry!  We continued on or way.

Yesterday, we did just that…loved the one we were with!  Planning a hike through the huge Medina to a TripAdvisor highly rated, #4 restaurant on their list of best restaurants in the Marrakech, PepeNero, we were excited to be on our way.

Finding a restaurant located in the Medina that isn’t situated in the Big Square can be challenging.  The narrow winding roads, many unmarked, are comparable to a maze, where one can meet numerous dead ends or seemingly walk in a circle ending up close to where one started.  This possibility doesn’t intimidate us at all. 

We walked along many fairly isolated roads such as this with an occasional beggar awaiting a token.

Tom’s excellent sense of direction, coupled with directions on my phone, we took off an hour before our scheduled reservation at 1:00 PM.  We’ve found that going on these long treks deep into the Medina are best attempted during daylight.  Although the Medina is guarded in the main areas, many of the narrow alleys could easily invite trouble at night, nor would we want to get lost in the dark. 


It was easy to imagine that we thought we were going down the wrong narrow road when we encountered isolated areas such as this.  But, it was at the end of this road that we found the restaurant, PepeNero.

Making our way to PepeNero was more about the fun of finding it than the idea of a midday main meal.  However, as many long term tourists have mentioned online in reviews, an occasional meal away from the popular flavors of tagine and it’s varied spices, is often welcomed. 


These colorful rose filled fountains were a common part of the decor in PepNero.

The thought of another meal in a French restaurant was particularly appealing to both of us.  Having budgeted enough for at least two of these more expensive outings each week, we didn’t flinch over the added cost.

Most likely, every day, they’d add fresh roses to decorate the fountains in the restaurant.

The Big Square in the Medina is a wide open area filled with vendors, acrobats, story tellers, snake charmers and musicians during the day and exploding at night.  There are numerous side streets branching off of the Big Square, that one can explore heading toward many of the souks, homes and shopping areas for the locals. 

It was bright and comfortably warm from the sun in the courtyard as we were seated near one of the flowery fountains.

Taking any of these narrow (no cars allowed) roads is not only exciting but has an element of danger with motorbikes zooming by and with the sudden appearance of fast moving carts with donkeys and horses.  Although we proceed with extreme caution, we often come within inches of being run over. 

The beautiful roses were displayed throughout the restaurant.

Tom, my personal navigator, pulls me from one side to another as we maneuver our way through the busy alleyways. Its only when we’re deep into a narrow road, far from the crowds, that the traffic diminishes.  Even then, we must remain on guard when suddenly a fast moving motorbike appears out of nowhere.

Our view from inside the courtyard of the restaurant while we dined.  Heaters were available but we were comfortable.

Yesterday, our caution prevailed while we diligently followed an occasional sign pointing us in the direction for the restaurant.  As each sign appeared, we were comforted that we were on the right track. At a few points, when we hadn’t seen a sign in a long while, we became concerned to moments later feeling relieved when another sign magically popped up.

There were banquettes for those preferring to dine inside as opposed to the courtyard.

Finally, we reached our destination, the final sign on a wood door. But, the door to the restaurant was locked.  Luckily, an employee also trying to enter, rang a doorbell and we were let inside along with him, wondering for a moment, if perhaps something was wrong with our reservation. 

This bird found a morsel for his meal.

Adjusting the camera in the bright sunlight, she was easier to see.

The website and TripAdvisor.com both stated they were open until 2:30 for lunch, reopening at 7:00 pm for dinner.  I’d received an email confirmation for our reservation.  Moments after entering, a charming English and French speaking waiter seated us at a sunlit table for two in the open courtyard.  At that point, we were the only guests, although 30 minutes after we arrived a few others appeared.

There were orange trees growing in the courtyard.

 It fascinates us that orange and lemon trees grow inside the riads.

This gave us a great opportunity to linger over the interesting artifacts, architecture and design of the riad and to take photos unhindered by other diners.  We couldn’t have had a more enjoyable time in the exquisite ambiance, dining on an equally exquisite meal combined with the finest service in the land. 

A complimentary small appetizer, referred to as an amuse-bouche was served prior to our meal. Mine was gluten free as were many offered items on the menu.  After showing the waiter my written in French list of items I cannot have, he assured me this appetizer was befitting my way of eating.  It was made with  aubergine which is a type of egglant.



Tom’s amuse-bouche had a cracker decorating it.  Surprisingly, he ate it finding it acceptable for his picky taste buds.

Our waiter understood perfectly, obviously from much experiences when to ask how we were doing and when to step back, as we engaged in lively conversation as I told Tom a long forgotten story from my many years as a business owner. 

Tom’s entrée including filet mignon, grilled potatoes and vegetables which he
thoroughly enjoyed, eating every last bite.

It’s ironic, how placed into a relaxing environment such as our world travels, that long forgotten stories come to the forefront in our minds.  In our old lives, the stress of daily living kept our brains preoccupied.  Now, away from all of the stress, we find ourselves recalling stories we’d never taken the time to share.  In a funny way, it makes our relationship new and exciting. 

My entrée was grilled salmon and vegetables which was divine.  The total cost for our fabulous meal including a liter bottle of water, tax and tip was MAD $400, US $49.25.

Living in new environment every few months easily makes way for new thoughts, ideas and conversation that invariably keeps our 24/7 lifestyle fresh and entertaining.  Of course, with Tom’s relentless humorous observations and my rampant optimism and attention to detail, we never seem to have a moment of boredom with one another or for that matter, in anything we do.

After we lingered in the pleasant surroundings of the restaurant for awhile, we began the walk back, feeling satisfied after a delicious meal and excellent experience.

Currently, we’re sitting on the sofa together in the salon in Dar Aicha,  the little heater cranking out a bit of warmth, I’m writing and posting photos, while he is listening to his favorite radio show, Garage Logic, which is blaring in the background on his laptop.  Whether I like it or not, I am a captive audience to his radio show finding myself laughing out loud from time to time.


Returning to Dar Aicha requires a walk through several souks after leaving the Big Square.

Here we are in Marrakech, Morocco, living in a much larger-than-we-need house, the open sky inside brightening our days in sunlight and our nights in stars and occasional moonlight.  We’re graciously and elegantly attended to by an amazing household staff of four as we find ourselves content and above all, grateful, for each and every day.

After our almost three hour outing, we returned to find this cat snoozing on the grate outside our door.

Not so pretty things…Archaic male and female roles…Dining at the most exquisite resort in Diani Beach…photos, photos and more photos!

Color at sunset from our outdoor living room.

Loss of water a few nights ago put Tom in a tither when we were preparing to go to the Swahili Beach Resort for dinner. He was mid-shower soaped up from head to toe when suddenly there was no water. Using bottled water he rinsed off as well as possible.  Luckily, awhile later we had water again.


We’d never noticed the amber eyes on these lizards until taking this photo.

Yesterday, in the 90F (32C) weather, humidity visible in the air, I grabbed one of the two wood cutting boards to take outside to chop and dice veggies while sitting at the glass table in our outdoor living room. We were having a Mexican roast beef salad, perfect for a hot evening.  


Tom’s hair still had shampoo in it when the water went off during his shower before we headed out to the Swahili Beach resort for a fabulous dinner, described with photos below.

Often its too hot to stand in the tiny galley kitchen to chop and dice and I’ve often chosen to take it outside.  Placing a clean towel on the table, the cutting board and a sharp knife and I’m good to go.  Keeping a close eye on potential crawling or flying visitors I chop away, jumping up numerous time to place each item in a bag in the refrigerator while I return to do more.

Luckily, I’d showered hours before him.  

As I placed the wooden board on the table to begin chopping, I must admit, I shrieked.  On the board was a no less than 6″ (15 cm) centipede, my nemesis, my most feared crawling thing so far, that inflicts a bite that is not only poisonous but may require a hospital visit and treatment. 


The entrance to the Swahili Beach Resort.

What do I usually do when the insect is horrifying? Call for Tom.  Now, please understand that I’ve always been an independent women, capable of taking care of myself.  For many years, I lived alone in our old lake house (before Tom) after the boys were grown and out on their own. 


If a creature ventured into the house, I took care of it, setting traps if necessary or devising a plan. I was never the “helpless” woman. 


For some odd reason and for the first time in my life, once Tom entered my life over 22 years ago, his loving “take care of my woman” persona became evident, allowing me to lighten up a bit and letting him step in to the rescue.  Mind you, relinquishing this “take charge” attitude didn’t come quickly or easily.  It evolved over these past 22 plus years.


One beautifully appointed lounge area after another at Swahili Beach Resort.

In the past year since leaving the US, I’ve totally let go, letting him be “the man.” Most of my girlfriends will admonish me for this stereotypical, archaic attitude but when it comes to creepy crawling or flying things, heavy lifting and checking out scary noises, I have no problem. 


Every area was decorated with the finest of furnishings.

As for other decisions, well, you know the rest if you’ve been reading many of our posts.  A headstrong, determined “know it all” I’ve forged my way into an equal stance with my equally headstrong, determined “know it all” husband. I often brag (to him) that my method is subtle and diplomatic whereby his method can be pushy and irritable.  In any case, magically, we get along extraordinarily well, seldom ruffling each other’s feathers.

The bar was inviting and comfortable.  We were anxious to get to the buffet
as it neared 8:00 pm.

So, Tom bravely took the wood cutting board from my hands, shook off the centipede to the ground and stomped, crunched, stomped, crunched until it was nothing but a gag inducing mess.  When Hesborn arrived later in the day, I asked him to remove the ugly moist turning moldy cutting boards from this house, never asking for another.  He did.


The walkway toward the pool area. 

I’m sorry I didn’t taken a photo of the centipede on the board.  I had an awful squeamish look on my face for hours and could hardly think of anything else.  Somehow food and centipedes wasn’t a good mix for me.


The walkway over one small arm of the vast swimming pool.

A short time later, Hesborn appeared with what looked like a new cutting board and I jumped for joy.  One only need ask Hesborn or Hans for anything and they happily comply.  Why hadn’t I asked for a new cutting board after fiercely scrubbing and bleaching these two rotting boards day after day?


The dining area by the buffet, although not air conditioned as most restaurants, had a bit of an ocean breeze but was still fairly warm for comfortable dining.

Then, yesterday around 5:00 pm, the power went out.  Within 90 minutes, Hans had the generator working and we were able to prepare dinner as the sun went down.  We dressed in our BugsAway clothing and proceeded to have a lovely evening as usual.


The salad were fresh and cold, many of which I could pile onto my plate.

Also, yesterday, we decided it was time to check out our luggage in preparation for packing, only to discover that the zippers on my single large suitcase was completely corroded from the humidity and salt water air.  It wouldn’t budge.  This was worrisome.  There isn’t a store within hours where we’d be able to purchase a large piece of luggage, nor would time allow for shipping. 



The crab, vegetable and apple salad had no added sugar so I picked out the few chunks of the apple.  The salad on the right containing rice was off limits. 

Asking Hesborn for spray can of lubricant, he quickly darted off, returning minutes later with a can.  Spraying the zipper thoroughly, Tom was unable to get it to work.  Finally, this morning, we asked Hesborn for a pair of pliers, a word he wasn’t familiar with.  I pinched my fingers together to convey the message and he got it, returning only a minute later with pliers.  Now, we were in business! 

The chicken satay were made for me without soy sauce and sugar.

Tom went to work on the zipper with success.  What a relief!  That could have been quite a disaster. Soon, we’ll tackle the packing. It’s been difficult to get motivated in this heat and humidity.

The cooking stations were manned by conscientious cooks catering to my every need. This dish normally made with flour was done so using chicken broth and cream, reduced to a creamy sauce.

The steamed veggies on the left were acceptable but the creamed item on the right was not.  Without the chef’s assistance, this would have been obvious to me.

As for the dining experience on Saturday night, after Tom had removed some of the soap but not all from his hair, we were off for the Swahili Beach Resort.

With 21 restaurants listed and rated on TripAdvisors, one would think choosing where to dine would have been a breeze.  Not the case. With a wide range of reviews ranging from “best dinner ever” to “don’t waste your time” we’re always in a quandary as to where we’ll dine next.


My salad plate.

With a mere 11 days until leaving Kenya coupled with a plan to use our remaining groceries, we expect to dine out less than we’d originally planned.  After counting the possible number of meals remaining in our inventory, its likely we’ll dine out two more times after tonight, when we’ll be returning to Blue Marlin which has had consistently good food. 


My divine plate of food from the Swahili Beach buffet.  That’s not pasta in the red sauce.  It’s grilled calamari, kind of like a squid spaghetti. without noodles.   

With a not-uncommon hit and miss with some of our prior favorites, we’ve decided to repeat those that have been most consistent.  Our previous try-something-new plan has gone by the wayside as we’ve run out of options and most amazingly, time.


This past Saturday as shown in these photos, we tried the Swahili Beach Resort by far, the most luxurious resort we’ve visited thus far with over-the-top service, food and ambiance. Dark when we arrived, we’d wished we’d come earlier to see the amazing décor, the massive infinity pool, the gardens and the beach. 



Watermelon carving seems to be quite the art as we’ve observed in many countries.  Those
are small cuts of cake with mango slices on the plate in front of the carving.

Surprisingly, it too had mixed reviews which may have influenced avoiding it until these last few weeks.  Had we known how wonderful it would be, we would have made it a regular on our list.  For KES $1400, US $16.41 per couple per day, we could have used their pool, if staying for meals. 


The dessert always look appetizing to me but only for viewing.  Tom hasn’t particularly cared for desserts in Kenya since they use less sugar than in the US. Not surprisingly, most of the locals are slim and fit in appearance. 

Impossible to lay outside at this house due to the bugs in the grass, we’ve missed our short stints in the sun which we also found nearly impossible in Tuscany, due to the bees.  Languishing by the pool in Belize was an experience we’ve missed.  Soon, in South Africa, we’ll have our own pool at our house which sun provided, gets us back into a little pool and sunning time.

I felt as if I was back on one of our 8 cruises with a cheese plate in front of me for dessert.

Swahili Beach Resort’s buffet blew us away!  Once I explained my dietary restrictions to the restaurant manager, showing my Swahili translation list on my phone, the head chef proceeded to walk me around the buffet showing me every item that fit my criteria. 

After I’d seen it all, he grabbed a plate for me, staying at my side as we walked from cooking station to station of freshly prepared items, adding food to the plate. 

When we reached the salad area, he grabbed a second plate, piling on more appropriate items, finally carrying my plates back to our table.  Tom, of course, busied himself piling food on his own plate, none of which contained any vegetables, as usual, all of which was off limits to me.  

Tom stood next to this hand carved wood sculpture to illustrate it’s massive size.

It was a memorable evening.  The total bill for our dinner including tip was KES $5300, US $62.13 and the round trip taxi fare, as always, was KES $1100, US $12.90.  The evening was pricier than usual but after the glorious experience, we hardly complained.


Power is back on.  Water is working. Suitcase zipper is working. New cutting board is ready for chopping and dicing for another eight meals and once again, we’re back on track. Will we return to Swahili Beach Resort one more time?  I don’t think so.  I don’t want to spoil the memory.

Last night’s unusual dining experience…Poisonous puffer fish?? Tom’s ruffled feathers…

 

I would’ve loved to try the pufferfish (click to see NG’s pufferfish video), a deadly poisonous fish if not cleaned properly, but I passed since it was flour battered and fried. “Chips” in Kenya translates to French fries, not potato chips, which Tom promptly figured out.

With approximately 26 hotels/resorts along a 10.2 km (6.34 miles) stretch of beach across the road, there are plenty of dining options for our planned three dinners out per week.  We’ve tried many so far, with nine more dinners out to go until we leave Kenya on November 30th.

It’s a little surprising to us that we’re running out of repeat options.  The issues primarily revolve around Tom’s picky taste buds than my restricted way of eating. A decent piece of grilled fish, chicken or beef, a side of veggies and I’m content.  Tom, on the other hand, is a much more particular diner, although he’s willingly tried many new items in the past year. 

Much to my liking, many meals in Kenya are vegetable-based included eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli, all of which I can have. Unfortunately, many of the vegetable dishes are made with rice or flour, neither of which I can have.Tom only eats carrots and green beans. Thus, dining out is not always as easy as it may seem.
The entrance at the Baobab Resort and Spa. The white carving on the left of this appears out of place when in fact it was a post that was included in the photo. 

Last night we tried another resort new to us, Baobab Beach Resort and Spa, as we’ve made a point of doing as often as possible.\Oddly, few local residents dine at any of the resort’s restaurants. Each time our driver pulls up to the security gate at one of the resorts, the guards look inside the vehicle checking us out, asking why we’re there. 

When we explained that we have a dinner reservation, they looked surprised. Of course, we appreciate their conscientious “guarding” of each property. Most diners are hotel guests of the resort rather than “outsiders” like us.

Having made a reservation for last night’s dinner on Monday, receiving an email confirmation as required to get beyond the gates, we felt confident that our arrival would be welcomed and seamless. Last night, it was quite different than with past reservations.

The resort lobby had multiple lounging areas.  Crooked lamp shade.

After going through two guarded gates, Alfred dropped us off at the main entrance to the resort as the well-dressed security guard greeted us with the often-used enthusiastic “hujambo” (“hello”, the “h” is not pronounced); “karibu” (welcome) to which we responded, “hujambo” and “asante” (thank you). When explaining we were there for dinner only. He referred us to the registration desk. 

We explained that we were there for dinner, but the staff person couldn’t find our name in the system. Stymied, again, we explained we were not staying at the resort, but had a dinner reservation. 

The décor in many resorts is similar leaning toward somewhat of a Moroccan theme.

Then, he asked for written proof of our reservation. Although we always carry our passports and ID when going out, we’ve never been asked to provide written proof for a dinner reservation. The thought of digging out our travel printer for dinner reservations has never occurred to us.

After no less than 15 minutes while waiting at the desk with various staff members speaking to one another in Swahili, we were told that the only dining option was for the buffet, at KES $2000, US $23.45 per person, must be paid now at the reservations desk in advance. We’d never heard of such a thing. 

Preferring not to make a scene, plus with our driver already gone and with no other immediate dining options, Tom pulled out a credit card and paid the KES $4000, US $46.89 which included all fees and taxes (not tips).

The dining room at Baobab Beach Resort and Spa.

Upon signing the slip, the staff member explained that the buffet dinner included basic bar drinks and soda. I wondered why none of this was explained at the time of making the reservation; the price, the fact that it was a buffet, paying at the desk in advance and the drinks being included. Had that been the case, we would have been prepared, still keeping the reservation. 

Apparently, like an all-inclusive resort they were ill-prepared for “outsiders.” Surely, we couldn’t have been the first outsiders ever to arrive for dinner. It wasn’t that they weren’t kind and willing to assist. They just didn’t seem to know what to do with us.

Tom’s feathers were ruffled (although he kept it to himself) especially when we’d arrived early, thanks to Alfred’s substitute driver’s showing up 45 minutes prior to our requested pick-up time. We were told we’d be escorted to the restaurant when it opened in 15 minutes. 

When no one arrived to escort us, we headed to the restaurant on our own finding an excellent table for two by a window in order to take advantage of the ocean breezes. It was still very hot and we were both wearing long sleeves. Bugs? Heat? It’s often a trade-off.

Tom’s ruffled feathers.

From that point on, our evening was pleasant. By far, it was the greatest number of diners we’ve yet to see in any restaurant over these past months, most of which were European, based on the languages we heard spoken. 

At no time during our evening did we hear anyone speaking English, other than the Swahili speaking servers who were able to handle basic requests. We’ve often wondered if tourists from the US and Canada find this location too far to travel. After all, it is almost halfway around the world, further time-wise to travel than most people are willing.

The servers promptly brought our drinks, a beer for Tom, and bottled water for me (no ice tea available) and we headed to the massive buffet. With my smartphone with the still-cracked screen, I displayed the screen below with the Swahili translation for my food restrictions which has been extraordinarily useful. There were no lengthy lines at the buffet, although the area was filled with diners at the numerous food stations.

Basically, this boils down to the fact that I can have fish, chicken, pork, beef and non-starchy vegetables, nuts and mayo (the mayonnaise we’ve found here is made without sugar). No soy, no gluten, no starch, no sugary sauces, no potatoes,  no rice, no beans, and no desserts.   

As is often the case, the main chef is summoned, reads the list, nods in understanding, directing me to the foods that are acceptable. It’s actually easy. Of all the foods offered last night, I was able to have approximately 25% with many variations of grilled, sautéed, and steamed vegetables and a wide array of grilled meats, fish, lamb, and chicken.

My plate of coleslaw without dressing was cold and refreshing.

Much to Tom’s pleasure, he was able to have roast beef and mashed potatoes, although he tried several other offerings. (He eats whatever he wants when we eat out since I do all the cooking my way when we dine in). He feels well and isn’t gaining weight.  Of course, I’d love for him to stick with my way of eating all the time.  

Finally, many months ago I gave up staring at his plate of food, giving him the evil eye, and making less than subtle comments such as, “Are you really going to eat that?”  Now I say nor imply anything derogatory about his food choices when we dine out when he doesn’t complain about my healthful cooking when we dine in.

I was thrilled with this huge plate of food by the time we started eating, close to 8:30 pm.

Will we go back to Baobab?  Yes, we will now that we know “the drill.” The food was very good, the choices many and the ambiance and service were both good.

Tonight and tomorrow nights we’ll dine in. Extremely hot and humid again, a cold dinner is on the menu for both nights, our favorite subway type unwich, sandwich using lettuce leaves instead of bread, a side of fresh green beans, our usual coleslaw, and nuts for dessert. 

Although I couldn’t have this rice salad, I loved the presentation.
Tom visited the dessert bar for a few items, but of course, I just took a photo. It was early in the evening, the buffet not opening until 7:30 pm, and the dessert table was already being restocked.

Bringing up another great episode of The Blacklist on my laptop for a typical Sunday night here in Kenya, we began batting off the creepy crawlies, swatting off the mosquitoes and flying ants and, using our flashlights to check for poisonous crustaceans in every crevice or corner before we go to bed. 

But…dear readers, we’re content. 

The long hallways were lined with these lounging beds.  After dinner, they were filled with overstuffed guests, sipping on after dinner drinks.  Tom insisted on a photo after I’d shot his grumpy pose.  I complied.

 

 

Part 2…Le Cafe at Lantana Galu Beach…Price shocker at end of post…

The flowers that lined the walkway from the main building at Lantana Galu Beach to the outdoor path were absolutely breathtaking. What a perfect spot for a wedding!

The menu at Le Café at Lantana Galu Beach was a plethora of appetizers, meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, and side dishes suitable for the finicky of diners.

Vegetarian options were available as well as foods easily amenable to my low carb, gluten-free, starch-free, grain-free, sugar-free diet. There were more possible combinations than we’ve seen on any other menus thus far in Kenya. 

I never doubted for a moment that the chef would make an error in the preparation of my restricted meal.  The elegance and grace of the establishment bespoke a keen sensitivity to the needs of its customers.

The service, flawless. With neither of us starving, we didn’t partake in any appetizers or salad. Most certainly, next time we go to Le Café, we’ll surely experiment trying more dishes.

My dinner:  Seasoned Grilled Red Snapper with sautéed non-starchy vegetables

My plate, as shown above, was flavorful, albeit the lack of sauces and starchy side dishes. It may sound difficult, if not impossible, for a restricted diner such as myself to assess the quality of food without the usual sauces and side dishes.

In my perception, the true test of a great restaurant is in their ability to masterfully take the simplest of foods with the least amount of ingredients to ultimately turn out an epicurean delight. This was accomplished at Le Café with finesse. 

An otherwise bland snapper resulted in a flaky and flavorful entrée, enhanced with the subtle use of local spices, grilled at precisely the correct time and temperature, and presented with this perfect blend of al dente sautéed vegetables. 

Notice the lack of veggies on Tom’s plate?  He requested they be placed on a separate plate to be handed over to me.  I did the same with my potatoes, handing them over to him.

My only suggestion for my dinner was to have smaller carrot bites to avoid the necessity of cutting, as my knife couldn’t quite tackle the job. Secondly, the pea pods could have been strung more completely to avoid that awful green string, stuck in the back of one’s throat, and struggling to find a gracious manner of extracting it.

A simple tomato and cucumber garnish adds the finest little touch.  Tom gave me this also.  The only raw vegetables he’ll eat in carrots and celery.

For beverages, Tom had two local Tusker bottled beer approximately half-liter each (16.9 oz.) and I had my once a week treat of one Coke Light (sugar-free) with lots of ice and a straw, switching to water when done.  (The water at Le Café is purified as if often the case at the finer restaurants in Kenya. We suggest you ask, if unsure as to the purity of the water). 

After our walk back to the main building, once again, we were mesmerized by these gorgeous fresh flowers.

HERE’S THE SHOCKER, FOLKS!!! Our entire dinner including beverages was Kenya Shillings $2500 which translates to US $28.61 (including tax and service fee!).  We added a tip for our server for Kenya Shillings $1000, US $11.44 for a grand total of Kenya Shillings $3500, US $40.06!

The buds for the sweet-smelling flowers was intoxicating, as in a fine perfume.

With our cab fare and tip for Kenya Shillings $1500, US $17.16, our entire total for the evening at an extraordinary resort, a memorable dining experience, and service beyond all reproach, was US $57.22! 

An exterior window of one of the units was adorned with more of these flowers.

So far, of our four Diani Beach restaurant experiences over the past four weeks, Le Café at Lantana Galu Beach is vying for first place with Sails Restaurant on our list for ambiance, service, food choices, food quality, and much to our surprise, in price. We’ll be back!

Wouldn’t this make a lovely bridal bouquet?

 

Just as we began to exit the main door, this red plant caught Tom’s eye.