Saturday, April 22, 2006

*Happy Sigh*

We had a good day today. Yesterday Todd and Laura called us up, so today we met them at Cristal Plage, a beach/restaurant in town. It used to be called the Rivage, but then a relation of the President was swept out to sea (the riptides are notorious for killing people weekly) and a "rogue" troup of gendarmes ripped the Rivage apart. It reopened a couple months ago, but Cristal Plage doesn't have a breakwater like Coco Beach so we'd never gone. Well, today that changed.

...and I forgot my camera. Ah well, next time. With the overcast skies, I could have gotten some nice shots.
The beach is definitely prettier than Coco Beach. It's huge, with lovely white sand and lots of payotes. At low tide I can see how the kids could play easily in the expansive shallows, but unfortunately we were there as high tide rolled in, so the kids were upset when we told them to stay out of the water deeper than their knees. Even with three lifeguards (!), it was clear that should someone get swept out the best the lifeguards could do was drag the dead body back to shore.
The restaurant is gorgeous and set far enough back to have a steady gently breeze, unlike the strong wind at Coco. But the food wasn't as good, and it was pricier. There was a nice assortment of soups, salads and pastas, with appetizers of olives, peanuts, bread, and mini mussels. The restaurant has great potential. So all in all, I think we still like Coco Beach better, but will probably give Cristal Plage another try in a few months.
By this time it was the middle of the afternoon and Todd and Laura introduced us to another new spot... the Milk Bar. On a bumpy, charcoal dust covered road off the Rue Circulaire, we had the most wonderful ice cream, for 350cfa (about 65c) a cup. The mocha and chocolate were outstanding, Katherine relished her banana and there was no complaint from the boys with their strawberry and vanilla. Other flavor options included apricot and coconut, and next time we'll buy a liter or two for take home.
Satiated, we returned home with our company. The kids played nicely and watched a movie, while the adults chatted and played Scrabble. Ian and I got our butts kicked. That was expected. I always play miserable, and Ian decided to challenge the word "uh". It was a loss he couldn't recover from. Then I learned Todd has played cello since he was 6 years old, so he tuned the cello and gave me my first lesson on how to hold the bow and the instrument and I actually made some sounds that weren't squeaks. He said next time he comes over I'll get lesson #2. *gulp* Guess I should practice and learn something! Meanwhile, Laura was playing a game of chess with Jonathon. She won, but it was a good match.
The kids all hopped in the pool as the bats came out and the lights came on. They finally worked out their last bit of energy and we only got moderately splashed in the process. Laura and Todd's daughter, Cameron, seems to have a great time with our kids. She's 2 1/2, so having big kids to play with is attractive to her. Our kids really like her as well, she's a good kid, fun, and small enough for Jonathon to pick up.
They were going to head home, but Cameron had no nap and it was going on 7 p.m. We convinced them to stay for a simple meal of grilled sandwiches, that way when she falls asleep in the car it's on a full stomach. Ian was introduced to grilled pb&j. Since regular pb&j is his comfort food, the grilled version was that much better, or so I've been told.
They are a lovely family, and we certainly enjoy spending time with them. It's another reminder, that the post depends on the people. Days like today make Togo very very livable.

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