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I cringed. It could only be me the voice from behind was calling. The last time a man jogged to catch up with me on my walk from the white house to our dinghy in Clare Valley, not the presence of my toddler riding on my shoulders nor my declaration of love and commitment for my husband did anything to quell his lengthy proposition to please me like no other man could.
The eyes of nearby villagers were on me and my two children, waiting to see what would unfold. The slap of feet pounding pavement grew louder. Goats bleated. Chickens pecked at bugs. I stopped walking and turned around.
The eyes of a dreadlocked man, barefoot and in a raggedy t-shirt and shorts, lit up when he saw my acknowledgment.
He stopped inside my invisible comfort bubble, panting, and smiled. “Good morning,” he said.
I steeled myself. “Good morning.”
“You have solar panels. I need a solar panel. Can you get me one?”
“A solar panel?” The surprise in my face and voice must have been something to see.
“Yeah, I live on the mountain,” he gestured behind him. The villagers came closer. “We have no power. You have solar panels, yeah? I have money. I can pay for it.”
My shock turned to instant admiration. He wanted to talk business! My heart swelled. He would be my ally.
This post has been entered in the Grantourismo Home-Away Holiday Rentals travel blogging competition hosted by Grantourismo Travel and Home-Away Holiday Rentals.
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We spotted the Ford Ranger from the ferry.
Its turquoise color matched the sea.
The truck’s owner hurried toward us. “Good morning, you must be Brian and Nicole, and you are the children, and you, the brother!” Herb said. His wife, Ilene, hugged us.
“Wow, the truck is outfitted just like ours,” Brian said.
“Is that right?” asked Herb. “Shall we go back to our place to discuss the sale?”
“I’ve made some sandwiches and juice,” said Ilene.
Shouldn’t we just discuss the purchase here? Take it for a test drive? I wondered. Brian shrugged.
We loaded into the back, riding on the bench seats under the canopy, just like we had done in our rusted out truck.
At their home, we snacked and admired photos of Herb and Ilene’s grandchildren. Two hours later I suggested we look at the truck.
Brian inspected for rust and finally the modest price was revealed. We accepted without negotiation.
Spirits were high. “Have you seen all of Bequia?” Herb asked.
Well, no we hadn’t.
The sun sank low before we were dropped back at the ferry dock. Herb would deliver the truck to Kingstown next week. They watched us board and searched us out on deck and waved as we sailed away.
The next day, there was a phone message. “Brian, I’ve been thinking. Considering the cracked windscreen, the price seems too high. I’m going to lower it by $300.”
I listened to the message three times to make sure I’d heard right.
This post has been entered in the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.
The prep work and the dashi were finished so the chef instructor at the cooking school in Tokyo moved on to the main courses.
First up was Braised Meat and Vegetables, Japan’s take on beef stew, which used dashi for the broth.
We moved into the kitchen to start the teriyaki chicken stuffed with asparagus, which reminded me not to complain about the small size of my kitchen (they run a cooking school and restaurant with a two burner cooktop and a portable electric burner!).
The sugars carmelized in the pan…
Sesame seeds were ground in the suribachi, Japan’s version of a mortar and pestle, for the dressing on a Spring Vegetable Salad.
And tofu was prepared two ways.
Brian plated the teriyaki chicken.
The final products:
Braised meat and vegetables
Teriyaki chicken and the Spring vegetable salad
Tofu with amber sauce
Tofu sauteed with asatski (Japanese chives)
And miso soup of course
Our business partner (and interpreter!), Bill, had to run to a meeting part way through our cooking school experience, leaving us suddenly verbally silenced. But through giggles and smiles and fumbled words and actions, we bonded–Brian and I with the chef instructor and his assistant. (Thanks Bill.) We all learned new words and Brian and I learned new cooking techniques and new food items, like burdock root in the miso soup and myoga (ginger flower) in the vegetable salad and asatski (the long very thin green onion) in the sauteed tofu.
Then we went upstairs to the dining room and ate all these creations.
And sadly, we said goodbye.
This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday Rentals travel blogging competition.