On the ride to Bali in Natal, Carmella has an appointment. Out in the parking lot there’s a bit of haggling going on for some really big versions of the usual tourist tchotchkes. Really big. Those aren’t fitting into any airplone’s overhead compartment :-)

The strip mall has a security officer keeping an eye on the place. There’s something regal about his bearing. I find his presence pleasing, a nice addition to the atmosphere.

Tiago’s / Seadoone Road, Amanzimtoti, South Africa / +27 31 903 2070

We’ve been seeing billboards along our journey for Tiago’s, “the best grilled chicken by far.” Being hungry, it seems like a great excuse to try some food that we see the working-class locals eating. (This place has a lot of traffic, with cars arriving every minute or two, with a huge take-out service.) We walk in and explain to the counter staff that we’d like to try a bit of each of their enthusiastically hawked flavors: lemon & herb, mild, and steaming hot Peri-Peri. I’m not usually one for spicy food, because after something that burns I can’t taste anything else, but I like the new spice.

Bali in Natal / Port Edward, 4295, South Africa

Bali in Natal is a private home, with each room decorated in a different style. It’s conveniently situated between two other bookings, and it looks great. We have to work our way into a secured, gated community. The view from the property makes the last-mile gyrations worth the effort.

The property is an ornate house with a very long, narrow pool. The opulence of the design of the house is unlike any place we’ve stayed, and my excitement rises.

This is the Sheherazade en-suite room Carmella booked. That’s an enameled eagle-claw bathtub at left and a canopied bed at right, with the porch at far right.

The main entranceway is covered against the elements, with a stone garden in a yin-and-yang shape marked out with two lamps where the “eyes” are usually placed. The common space is in the middle of this picture, marked by nine sliding plate glass doors.

Inside the common room, the owner tells us of his inspiration in making the place and how he’s furnished it during his travels. I can’t keep my eyes in one place for long; there’s interesting things to see everywhere.

Here’s the common room from another vantage point. Every item has a story, a fascinating story.

The owner offers us a little something, a fruit parfait, and it’s perfect for tired travelers. The Carmella seems pleased; refreshed.

The owner’s first priority is to show us our room, so we can drop our bags, but I rush to take some photos first, before the pristine state is marred by our suitcases, etc.

Here’s a slightly different stitching of the panorama.

We’re the first ones to arrive, so the gregarious owner offers to show us the other two bedrooms. Here’s one:

Here’s the other. All are off the main walkway, and all have a comfortable feeling, like a friend just stepped out and left you in charge of the place.

It’s evening, and we’re blown away by the beauty of the clouds at sunset.

 

It’s bed-time, and the canopied bed is as comforting as a kid’s fort. I put down the sides and we snuggle in, getting ready for tomorrow’s adventures.

Next, it’s Carmella’s old stomping grounds, the Buccaneers, Chintsa.

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