Monday, November 28, 2011

Customised Balconies

I have mentioned before that it seems tha the balconies on apartment blocks are often modified by the occupants or owners.  I have no idea how this happens or if it is allowed (maybe the well informed local reader, who told me the trees are painted to prevent bugs knows?), but anyhow it fascinates me.  The other day I walked over to meet Sandra and had a few minutes to wait, so just standing at a street corner took these pictures of the apartments' balconies around.  I won't try to add commentary, they speak for themselves!


And finally, this is one from a different location, above the supermarket we now do most of our shopping ib, Ideal.  As you can see, this is quite a new block but that hasn't stopped the balcony modifications.  We cannot even put a nail in the outside of our Californian condo without permission!

Winter has Arrived

A couple of days ago it snowed and with the fall in temperature the snow stayed on the ground.  It is now the third day with temperatures around zero Farenheit or -17C.  There are clear blue skies and a light wind, but still the wind chill can be felt.  The view from my desk is really quite pretty when there is snow "cleaning" everything up.

The trouble is that the snow does not get cleared very effectively.  The major roads are eventually ploughed and traffic heat clears them but the side streets and most sidewalks are packed snow or ice.  We only had a few centimeters of snow, so it isn't packed very deep, but that makes it no less slippery.  

This morning it was even colder.  The view out the window of our bedside clock and thermometer is on the right.  The temperature was flickering between -21 and -22.  Another cold day.

Yesterday the ice was solid across the river on the north side (upstream) of the bridge, but there was still a channel of water on the south side.  However it was very icy on the bridge and cars were slipping all over.  Sandra's minibus taking her to work couldn't make it over the hump of the bridge and had to have several attempts, before it was able to  get to the downward slope.  At lunchtime yesterday she missed the bus home and had to walk.  But by the time she arrived back she was very cold, and ended up going back to the office after lunch on the bus.  Yesterday afternoon I had to make desserts fo a dinner we were invited to, so actually went to the stores three times, twice on foot and later in the dark by taxi.  Early afternoon I walket up Satpayeva Street and they were starting to erect the Christmas Tree on Mahambet Square.
In my cold outside garb, still snow on my boots!
 Today after going to meet Sandra in Asia for lunch, I walked along to The Renco residences to buy a gift for a birthday aprty we were going to, then I headed over to the store, and finally home.  The distances between stops are only a kilometer or so, but the total distance is about 5km.  This seems one of the differences between the cold we experienced in Canada and Colorado (where temperatures are even colder) and here....we go out in it more here.  In North America one goes from home to car to shopping mall, we always walk the 1.5km  round trip to the supermarket, and it is not just cold it is slippery, with the sidewalks covered in thick ice, and the roads even worse at the corners where one tries to scurry across, add two heavy shopping bags and it is an accident waiting to happen.  The other day I went for a big shop (that means buying the heavy stuff, diet coke, wine, carrots and potatoes etc, not spending "big"), and planned to call a taxi to get home.  Unfortunately as I finished checking out I reached for my phone to find I had left it at home.  Without a cell phone one cannot get a taxi, so I had a slow and painful walk back.  With heavy bags and my fingers really hurt, until they were so cold I couldn't feel them, and it was fine.

The river is now fully frozen.  It looked that way, but I was not sure until I watched someone walk across it.  Yesterday it was still water!  There are two schools of thought, the locals really know and understand the river (which I assume) or the locals have a love of ice fishing greater than a love of life (Sandra expounds this theory, and points to the number of deaths of people falling through the ice as evidence).  Surprising to say, we have not been out on the river yet...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today: Just Another Day

I frequently get asked by the working people "What do you do all day?".  It really is not a bad question, especially when asked by people who only get two days a week off and use one of those to catch up on work and the other wondering what to do.  

So let me tell you how today is going, as it is a fairly typical day.

We get up around 6.30 and Sandra then has 2 hours before the bus leaves for work.  We do not start the day with a mad rush, but I am afraid we still sometimes end up in one.  When men dress for work they rarely try on three or four ties before deciding which to wear, and they definitely don't do that with suits or socks.  And rather than get myself into any trouble, I'll just leave you with the general observation that women are different.  And 40+ years of observing this has lead me to conclude that there will never be any convergence of our behaviours in this respect.  Enough said!  

In the morning my job is to prepare breakfast and the emergency supplies that Sandra takes to refuel herself between meals.  Fortunately, Sandra, unlike me, does not require "different" food all the time, so the only thing that stops me feeding her the same thing each day (which she tends to do when alone) is that I get board cooking eggs the same way day after day.

First priority though is tea.  A mug of Fortnum and Mason's English Breakfast tea just goes to show how difficult it is to suppress the colonial spirit, and I am talking about the new-colonial Sandra, not me, I drink my diet coke!!

There is always grapefruit followed by yoghurt, either home-made with pureed frozen fruit in it, or store-bought if we can find the low fat stuff, then eggs.  This is the challenge to add egg-variety, without adding too much time.

On the eggs list are the basics like:

Scrambled (European style to American, so they are soft and creamy)
Fried (but with very little fat)
Boiled (and shelled, to make consumption easier)
Omelettes, we have fun here with lots of things I can add
Quiche, if I have some pastry left over
and todays choice...
An omelette made by seperately whipping the egg whites, folding in yolks and cheeses, adding grilled cherry tomatoes and artichokes (canned!) and finishing under the broiler.

Finally, Sandra finishes with some toasted home made bread with labneh and apricot jam, both are also home made.  Below is the everyday set up, only the eggs differ!
As you will observe the table is set for one.  I am not ready for breakfast just yet, so I will just sit and chat, if we aren't listening to the BBC World Service News on the internet, as I do for a lot of the day.  We do get some lovely sunrises as we sit and eat and talk.
At about 8.20 Sandra leaves to catch the waiting bus downstairs.  She carries a briefcase that is half work, half food.  Raw carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, grapes and bananas are the basics, accompanied by a yoghurt drink, diet cokes and more recently banana muffins.  I don't know where she puts it all.  Maybe I am feeding her whole office?

After Sandra leaves I usually read and answer emails and do any computing chores that I have.  I have been struggling to download some TV programs which with s slow internet connection keep timing out, so seem to take several attempts over a few days before they work.  I have also been fixing our VPN connections on our iToys so that we can read blogs that friends have.  I have also set us up on the iCloud and subscribed to the new iTunes Match service.  Doing these little things with my techno-fossilised brain takes a lot longer than some of you younger readers would ever believe!

After messing about for an hour or so (for, I guess, that is what it really is) I have been trying to fit in a brief visit upstairs to the gym, before getting dressed and ready to go out.

Today I left the Marriott at about 10.30 and walked up to Ardiger to RamStore. Tonight James is coming to dinner so I will look for something a bit different, but know I'll have no luck.

It was not very cold, minus 2C, but with a dry wind it is chafing, so one walks briskly.

En route to Ardiger I passed a new restaurant that is getting ready to open.  A few months ago there were signs announcing the Noodle House would be opening soon.  Sandra was getting quite excited at the prospect of a specialist noodle restaurant, but then the signs went down and nothing happened.  However, recently work has been going on and the signage has gone up.  As you can see..
The Noodle House has



In other words it is Everything House with Noodles.  Sandra is disappointed.

After shopping I called a taxi to go back to Marriott, and then straight on to Abay Office to meet Sandra for lunch.  Something was wrong with the system and I waited 30 minutes before it arrived and got to Sandra an half hour late for lunch.

We weregoing to go to a new found place for an exciting "business lunch" but it was closed.  We decided instead to go to Guns and Roses, which is a pub that does one of those strange Atyrau transformations from business restaurant to after work drinks meeting place to live music event venue and finally early in the morning becomes an international dating center (I will say no more other than, this is all second hand information as we have only ever done lunches there.  We deserve prizes, just look what we had!


Actually Sandra didn't touch hers, it had a very strange flavour that I couldn't identify, but was decidedly offputting in a salad.

Then soup....

I have told you all about this before, but for the record, I got 3 little pieces of meat and Sandra got one.  Which made me the winner this time.

Finally chicken and rice...

This was OK.  It was cold so the sauce of sour cream and a few mushroom slices was more like glue, but avoid that the cold chicken and cold rice was like an advanced salad, so edible.

After lunch I walked over to Rahat Market to do some shopping for dinner.  I was hoping to find a piece of meat to braise.  I bought a piece of meat but I was not sure what the cut was.  It turned out to be too lean and after 6 hours braising was stringy but not soft.

As I was waiting for the taxi outside Rahat, in the muddy carpark I took this picture of the buildings opposite.

 This is an example of something I have been meaning to mention.  Most of the residential homes in Atyrau are apartments.  Typically they are 3 to 5 storey buildings like these, not in very good shape.  They are almost all built with open balconies but the residents customise them as they see fit.  Many are glassed in, some have only sides, others are barred and some are occassionally bricked in to make an extra room.  I don't know how the ownership or building regulations work but this seems to happen to even some of the newer and higher buildings as you can see in the picture of the new tower block next to The Renco (right)

The balconies are obviously useful extra storage space as you can see below.

I returned to Marriott with the spoils from my shopping trip.  And started to prepare dinner.  The menu was Curried Lentil Soup, Salad with honey mustard dressing, braised beef and Pear Tartin.  I made corn bread muffins and a loaf of light rye bread to go with the soup and stew.  Results are below.
Given that we pay for our own travel and that the trip from San Francisco to Atyrau can go a number of ways at very different prices and journey times, I spend a lot of time shopping for fares.  This afternoon I realised that I would be arriving back at SFO at 8.30 pm and had to get to Sonoma.  One way car rental is quite expensive.  I checked on Expedia USA and this was what I found.
The cheapest Hertz car was $140+.  I thought a better option would be to go by bus as far as I could and stay overnight in an hotel, which in Petaluma would be $50 to $100, Then I could complete my journey by bus the next day.
But I also decided to look at some other rental sites, such as Hertz directly, which was the same price. (I was using Hertz as they have a Sonoma office, but it is closed on Saturdays!)
Then by accident I got on an Hertz UK site and the price was about GBP20!! Bingo, I thought, only about a quarter of the US price.  However, it would not allow me to enter a credit card billing address outside the UK. And our UK cards are billed to US addresses now.  So instead I had to go on to Expedia UK.  As some of you will know, Expedia will normally reroute you to a local Expedia service, but I have a proxy UK server so I could get through.  My card billing details are already on record there to the billing address anomoly did not exist. Hence the final confirmed booking...
So the message is that it may take a lot of time, but there really is a case for shopping around.  I have found significant differences in the prices on UK, US and Canadian travel websites as well as differences in flight availability.  So if you have the ability to pay with cards of different residence, keep this in mind!

I also started this blog on Monday afternoon, but now as I am finishing it, I'm afraid it is already Tuesday.  Which brings me back to where we started...making breakfast for Sandra.  Today the eggs were a type of quiche with no pastry.  To the two eggs I added about two tablespoonsful of marscaponi and about one of grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, whisked and put it in a muffin tin in the oven. 

I served them with some roast cherry tomatoes.  Below is the evidence.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Bridge

I went to Asia to meet Sandra for lunch today.  We went to Hugo's and had the business lunch.  I'm afraid that I may be getting used to oily soup!  I think I can now give you the recipe if you want to try it.  You take one chicken bouillon/stock cube which should make a pint of liquid, and add a pint and an half of water.  Cut a small potato (very waxy type) and a medium carrot and a small onion into small cubes (about 1/2 centimetre).  Add to the liquid and boil till very soft, about 30 minutes I expect.  Then add a tablespoonful or two of corn oil (to taste) and youave it.  It can be tarted up with with the addition of a few thin slices of cabbage added to the vegetables, and if you want to push the boat out a couple of small pieces of boiled meat or chicken turns this into a festive season menu item.  Adding an half tablespoon of tomato paste to the liquid transforms it into a radically different dish!

So that was the business lunch soup (without the extras), followed by a crab stick salad, which I am sorry to say, even when prompted by Sandra, I could not photograph.  It was just too sad...canned diced vegetables with runny mayonnaise (I think) and some small pieces of crab stick.  We each got about two tablespoonsful on a saucer and neither of us could touch it.  Two beef meatballs (which have overcooked rice in them for moisture) with three very small scoops of mashed-ish potatoes (no cream, milk or butter) and a tomato fluid was the main.  Sandra ate all of her's, further proof that she has "gone native".  Dessert was a ball of what looked like a chocolate brownie, topped with cream and a chocolate curl.  It was quite attractive, but it wasn't a brownie (neither of us could identify it...perhaps cake soaked in juice and compressed into a ball?), nor was it cream, and the chocolate may have been that laxative type.

Anyhow, I am supposed to be blogging the bridge!!

I walked back to Europe, as you can see from the by now familiar "monument" at the end of the bridge footpath on Satpayeva Street.  Satpayeva is the main raod from the airport into Atyrau and across the Ural, so it is fairly busy.  

After the road crosses the bridge it broadens and widens and it is also joined by three roads from the side.  So I suspect this was something of a suicide spot for people trying to cross.  So two years ago they built a footbridge over the road.  I think it is the only footbridge in Atyrau (except for the one over the river).  

On the top left you see it in all its glory, then the left end, middle section and right end.  Each end has two sets of steps up (but on the same corners!).  The bridge is covered and has blue glass sidewalls, but in the central part of the middle section there are also railings, for no obvious reason.

This bridge is two years old.  The steps are polished granite, which make them more dagerous than running across the road, when it is wet and icy, and the flat part started off as packed earth.  For the first year the footbridge was either mud, dust or ice, then it was paved.  

But the reason I am blogging about this bridge is that it is often the little things that really highlight the differences between cultures and lifestyles, not big things like religion or food.  

The pictures below show you some details of this two year old bridge.
I said to Someone that it was amazing that it was in such poor condition.  She said that it looked like this two months after it was built.  

And another thing, what happened to the street lights that were next to the bridge? 
They appear to have been chopped off, which says it all really.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Bombs

On Monday a couple of weeks ago I was in the apartment shortly after Sandra had left for work, and there was an almighty bang, I thought it was the start of an earthquake, but we don't get them here, then I concluded that it must be a large piece of furniture, like a bookcase, falling over in the flat above.  A little while later ther was another bang but not as loud.

Shortly after Sandra called and asked if I heard the bombs.  It is difficult to find out what is going on here but a picture gradually emerged.  An extremist had planted one bomb and then blown himself up trying to plant the second bomb, as sort of unintended suicide bomber!  He was the only one hurt (killed).  Picture appeared on a website shortly afterwards showing bits of him on the sidewalk...most convincing.

The piece below is taken from the BBC ASIA internet news site a few days later.

"Two explosions have hit the oil city of Atyrau in western Kazakhstan, killing a suspected suicide bomber.
The first bomb, which was reportedly hidden in a rubbish bin near the local government headquarters, exploded just before 09:00 local time (04:00 GMT).
Shortly after, another blast took place outside the general prosecutors's office.
Kazakhstan - considered the most stable country in the region - has seen a wave of violence in recent months.
'Died on the spot'
Regional prosecutors said no-one other than a man who is reported to have been the attacker was hurt or killed in Monday's blasts, Reuters news agency reports.
"An unidentified man used an explosive device, making him die on the spot and breaking the windows of a nearby apartment building," regional prosecutors said in a statement cited by Reuters.
The BBC's Rayhan Demytrie in Almaty says in the past few months Kazakhstan has experienced a series of extremist attacks, including two explosions in May.
In September, suspects accused of plotting terrorist attacks were arrested in Atyrau.
Last week, a previously unknown Islamist group threatened Kazakhstan with violence unless the authorities abolished a new religious law approved by President Nursultan Nazarbayev earlier this month.
The law, which the authorities say will help combat extremism, bans prayer rooms in state buildings and requires all missionaries to register with the authorities every year.
But critics warned that restrictions under the new law could backfire and fuel extremism rather than combat it, our correspondent says."
Last week there was another incident in a different Kazakh city, Taraz, in the south.  Again from the news...
"Seven die in armed clash in Kazakhstan - prosecutor

Astana, November 14, Interfax - Seven people, including five policemen, were killed and three other police officers wounded during an attempt to stop an alleged Islamist militant from robbing a weapons shop in a city in Kazakhstan on Saturday.

The incident, which involved an explosion and a shootout, occurred in Taraz, capital of the Zhambyl region, Kazakh Deputy Prosecutor General Nurmukhambet Isayev told a briefing in Astana.

He named the alleged militant as Kariyev, born in 1977.

Kazakhstan's prosecution service has launched murder and terrorism proceedings in connection with the incident.

On October 31, another Kazakh city, Atyrau, was the site of two bombings. Minutes after a bomb planted in a refuse bin on a street went off a man killed himself in an apparent suicide bombing near an apartment 
building. The prosecution service qualified both incidents as acts of terrorism.

The same day the Soldiers of the Caliphate militant group posted a statement on the Internet claiming responsibility for both attacks, and on November 9 the Prosecutor General's Office announced that investigators had obtained evidence confirming that the group had been behind the two bombings."

This is all rather unusual for a usually peaceful country.  Security has been stepped up at hotels and residences.  They put two plastic cones in the road into the Marriott car park which was on par with the precautions taken at other buildings.  Then a couple of days after that we went out one morning to see a huge 15 foot deep hole right in front of the entrance.  Its big enough to swallow a Land Cruiser so we summised that this is extra security, a moat. 

The Hole!

Weekend Events


On Friday night we had people for dinner,  Mary and Lee.  I decided I would make make bread and have soup to start, roast chicken and finally apple turnovers.  I bought a couple of frozen chickens the day before (expecting 4 guests) and the ingredients for the meal.

There is a lot more produce available now than a couple of years ago, but supply is not that reliable.  Right now I see pumpkins/squash in the stores and we always have carrots and onions so I decided it would be a choice of pumpkin or carrot soups.  
Rather pale and tasteless

The chickens were not very big so would take an hour and could rest while we ate or soup.  

I have found a supply of frozen puff pastry, and as apples are always available (Almaty, the old capital, means "place of apples") I decided to do apple turnovers which would cook as we ate our soup and main course.  This was going to be a fairly light touch meal with most work done in advance.  I had rice with ready for the microwave, and a zucchini and tomato dish on the cooker.

I tell all this to evidence my thorough planning.  So about 45 minutes before the guests were due I put the chickens in the oven, the soup was hot on the cooker, nothing to it.  Sandra arrived home at 6.35, guests due at 7.00, I decided to check the chickens.  There they were, sitting together on the tray in the oven, just as cold and pale as when I put them in!  I guessed I had miss-set the timer when I was adjusting the clock, but I couldn't work it out.  Sandra, got out the instructions and we were both trying to make sense of them with no luck.  Time was getting on and the birds were not!

We could get the grill to work but not the oven.  When the guests arrived I was cutting chickens in half on a bloody chopping board, and heating the oven with the top grill.  And we had grilled chickens which were a bit dry but better than raw.

The apple turnovers were another story.  It is not very easy to grill puff pastry but I tried.  I think it was sort-of-cooked.  Rather darker than desired on the outside, and maybe a bit on the soggy side inside.  Unlike baking one has to cook both sides so they were rather oddly misshapen, but our guests, like true troopers, ate them.

The next day the engineer arrived to fix the oven, but it was no good, so he ended up wheeling it away, and turning up 10 minutes later with another identical working one.  I guess they are prepared for such events.


We went for a walk along the river to find an Azeri restaurant that had been recommended by a Shell lawyer from Azerbaijan. 
Restaurant on the left

When we got there it was not opening 'till 2pm, a strange time to open, just after lunch.  We decided to go to the Renco next door which is the large Agip residence.  
The Renco
Not surprisingly it and its restaurants are very Italian.  We decided instead to walk back to the Atyrau hotel which is fairly close to the Marriott and which we had not tried.  They had a very limited menu and a buffet.  We opted for drings and a cheese plate.  There were 4 types of cheese, 3 came as thin thin little triangles, and one as cubes.  The triangle cheeses were best described as yellow, white and yellow and white.  They tasted the same, with far less taste than a Kraft slice, but the same texture.  The cubes were blue, very blue!  I think it was Danish Blue that had ripened over the past few years in their fridge.  By this time we decided to go back to our first place, the Azeri Restaurant.

It was open and empty.  Like all local restaurants, one gets a menu, and as one starts to order finds out that most things are not available.  It is a kind of "Here is the menu, these are things that we would like to offer, let's see if you can guess what we have!"  We each ordered a shashlick, beef and lamb and then with some Russian conversation from Sandra actually agreed a couple of dishes, again beef and lamb.  We expected meet on skewers, but were served two dishes which came with their own charcoals under them to keep them warm.  They both had potatoes, apples, tomatoes and onions with meat in a very oily gravy.  

They tasted all right, but I didn't feel great after eating so much oil.
The oily remains!


We again had people, Doug and Julie, for dinner.  In the morning we walked to a couple of supermarkets to find something for dinner.  I was running out of inspiration.  In the end I found some lamb shanks, so the menu was crispy fried polenta with mushroom sauce, braised lamb shanks with mashed potatoes, zucchini and broccoli (quite a find), then poached pears and ice cream.  I cooked in the afternoon and Sandra went on an ice cream hunt...she succeeded in finding vanilla.

Walking to Asia AGAIN

On Thursday the 10th of November it snowed for about 12 hours...all day long. As the temperature was right around freezing the snow didn't settle at first.  But after a few hours it just seemed too much and it started to accumulate.  This was the view from the apartment window

In the afternoon I walked up to Ram Store, this was the view of the mosque and Ardiger is the big shadow behind it.  We had a good snowfall for this desert region.

In Atyrau about 15 years ago there were only a couple of paved roads.  Now the whole town is paved.  About two years ago there were very few paved side walks, but they have been building them most aggressively as explained elsewhere in this blog.  So now there are side walks along all the major roads. The problem is that they don't seem to be constructed with any real consideration of rain and melting snow are a walkers curse.

Looking out of the window on Friday morning (above) you can see the melt has started.  And I am due to go down there and walk over the bridge to a restaurant just on the other side (in Asia) to meet Sandra for lunch.  As you can see the route is not immediately appealing.

 As one approaches the bridge one comes across one of four little monument things marking Europe and Asia, they are on each side of the road on each end of the bridge.  They are all the same except the labels, the Europe monument...I don't really know what to call it... is below.
The  footpath over the bridge was icy packed snow making the walk slow and dangerous.  The picture below is looking back to Europe, the Marriott is the tallest building.  The building to its left is the office building headquarters of Agip.  The foot bridge was built about two years ago over Satpayeva Street.  I will do a blog on it later as it is quite something to 
 behold, and example of how construction "ages" in this part of the world.  The Ural river has not yet started to freeze but it looks suitabley cold and uninviting, except to the fisherman.  One of the other visiting male spouses (there are 3 of us) comes from Texas.  He had brought his fishing pole and had been fishing down on the river.  Unfortunately he didn't realise he needed a licence and he got accosted by the game warden or equivalent.
 He had no Russian and the warden had no English, but he was given the wardens phone and the person on the other end suggested that he might like to give the warden a "gift".  Unfortunately he had no Tenge, and no phone of his own to use to call security, so ended up reaching an agreement with an adequate gesture of US dollar...but I digress....ahead is Asia.

On the left of the building below is Sancak, the Turkish restaurant where I was due to meet Sandra.  She was late so I wandered around waiting for here.  There is always something to entertain and amuse.

Below is the are six shots I took of the side-walks outside Sancak, as you can see, drainage is not a strong suit.
I then started looking at the lamp-posts.  They are made of concrete and they are all painted at the bottom.  There is a white bit, then a ring of Kazakh blue (it is the colour of the flag and used everywhere) and on this ring are painted fleurs de lis.  I have no idea of the significance, they are not particularly finely painted, and it would seem to me an unnecessary maintenance challenge, but there they are....
 Notice the Nurbank sign on the right post.  Admire the quality of the wiring!  The roundabout at this junction is a big and fairly busy affair. with about 4 or five lanes going round it. There is a spiky statue in the middle, a sort of mini Place de la Concorde but with a confusing right of way system designed to cause collisions.  I am particularly intrigued by the van with advertising hoardings on its side which is parked with no driver in the middle of the road leading into the roundabout.  I wonder if they have permission to park it there or how that happens.  
 I have said in an earlier blog that there are whole gangs of tree painters devoted to painting the bottom meter or so of the trees, all the trees no matter how small or skinny, white.  I thought this looked particularly unusual when they had snow piled round the base and also sitting on the top.  

Mercifully Sandra arrived before too long, thus sparing you a protracted expose of the odds and sods that I found amusing outside Sancak.  The picture on the left was taken this summer inside Sancak.  They make (top picture) a very good type of thin Turkish bread (bottom picture) which we have with kekabs that are cooked to order on a charcoal fire (middle picture).  I like Sancak but they do not serve alcohol so it is not a place we go for dinner.  

After lunch we walked together towards Sandra's office.  She went back to work and I went on to Rahat Market to shop.

When I finished shopping I called a taxi and went out to wait in the car park outside.  I couldn't help but think about waiting in the Safeway carpark in Sonoma.  It is a bit different.
The blue awning (bottom left) is an entrance to the market.  

After   couple of minutes my "taxi" arrived.  You can see why Landcruisers are the vehicle of choice.
The map below shows the route of my walk to distance...about 1 mile.