Just down the road from Flamingo Beach was Sunset Beach Club, a gated resort. It was December and the resort wasn’t at all busy and we were welcomed in – this was especially exciting as they had a restaurant offering table service rather than just takeaway meals. There were a few families enjoying the sunny beach, one or two were even swimming. We sometimes heard English being spoken by passers by although we were told that, pre Covid, the majority of guests were Russian.
On the beach a line of anglers waited patiently at the water’s edge with their rods leaning into the surf. The beach was also home to half a dozen ownerless dogs, each one had an ear tag which, we supposed, indicated they had been caught and spayed before being returned to the wild. The dogs seldom barked and appeared oblivious to our comings and goings. They spent their days quietly sleeping on the warm sand – unless a strange dog invaded their territory then there was a loud salvo of aggressive barking. After sunset when the local mosque broadcast the evening Call to Prayer and the Imam’s voice filled the quiet night air, the dogs joined in with a loud, eerie howling. Whenever the chanting paused the dogs fell silent only to restart their duet when the Imam resumed.
One of these dogs shadowed the tables in the restaurant. This was Tommy, tag #000407. Our host, Mohammed, told us he was a very fussy eater and would not accept just any scraps – and fish was his favourite. We were eating fresh grilled bream and sea bass. When we had finished our meal there was a huge plateful of fish heads and bones which Mohammed took away and gave to Tommy who scoffed every last morsel!
Our fish was served with salad and bread, plus a litre of the local Effe beer – the cost was just over £20 with a tip. In order to keep Tommy well fed, we regularly ordered the fish.