Monday, March 16, 2009

When careful plans radically exceed expectations





These are three views of the Pacific Ocean from the home of our new friends Anthony and Dhalma, and the couple themselves, relaxing while enjoying one of the views. This is what I officially call "not shabby" in a home that would have fetched $7 million before the real estate market flatlined.

It was rather stunning to be invited to their home nonchalantly - we were even invited to stay overnight, but declined - and then find this to be their home, at the end of a half-hour drive south in Los Angeles County, to the bottom of the Rancho Verdes Peninsula.

My surprise was only spoiled by the odd fact that I knew, when I surveyed a map to figure out the drive, that I had basically driven by their house two days before, when I picked up my friend Richard Derrick in San Pedro and then drove across the peninsula to pick up his friend Crane for lunch and UFO talk in Redondo Beach.

Still, when one makes new friends, and they are humble immigrants - he is from Nigeria, she is from Panama - and they invite you to their home, you really don't expect to walk into a movie star home. Move their house up the coast not very many miles to Malibu, and it literally would be a movie star home. Thankfully, for the moment, the peninsula is slightly off the radar of the super-rich, or as far off the radar as it is possible to get in L.A. County.

As I blogged at the time, we met Anthony and Dhalma last July during a harbor cruise in San Diego, when I was working on a travel story for a magazine in New York and they were celebrating a family reunion. We hit it off right away, with plenty to chat about, and they have four girls, which is extremely attractive for a family with only one girl who lunges at every opportunity to socialize with one of her own kind.

When we heard they live in the L.A. area, we took down their contact information, since Los Angeles is my favorite city and a place we connive to visit once a year, if we can, typically piggybacking on some work opportunity to defray the costs of travel. (A conference was our anchor, this time around.)

Companionship for our daughter, Leyla Fern, was the first motive. You can see her lurking in the shadows on a recliner in one of the ocean-view photos, but she was otherwise off the radar herself, disappeared into some distant corner of their large house, playing with one of her friends.

I asked Leyla is she had fun with her new friends. She said, rather indignantly, "They are not my new friends. They have always been my friends." Mission accomplished!

Every so often, things just work out as planned - or radically better than planned, with views of the Pacific Ocean, homecooked fish soup, and a bottle of good red wine.

1 comment:

chasmyn said...

Your daughter, she is one amazing little person. I love your entries about her the most.