Today we went to the beach that is around an hour away from Abidjan. African timing is a problem. I was told to be ready at 8am - which of course I was, but I was picked up at 10:15am.....I should know better. The first leg of the journey included a few of us taking a taxi. After that we then got into a matatu (minivan) which then finally dropped us off a half hour's walk from the beach (why there were no matatus that took you closer to the beach, I just don't know.) In the matatu, our two lovebird friends kept on kissing - I was no longer shy or awkward about it. I just assumed that daylight PDA in Francophone countries is ok. Can you imagine people kissing in a matatu at 2pm in Nairobi? You would be stared at badly and someone would likely take out a bible and read a verse or two aloud on immorality...heeee heeee!!
The half hour walk to the beach was lovely. It was a pleasant day and we were all in a carefree mode. When we finally got to the beach hotel - I felt peaceful. I love being anywhere next to a large water body - ocean, lake, river - I draw energy from it. We spent a leisurely day swimming, eating, swimming, eating, horseriding etc. Lunch was delicious! I had fresh fish and one of the people in our group had frog's legs. Yeah I know! My first thought was "frog's legs???? Yikes!" Shock on me as his food arrived and it was so delicious - I ate quite a few frog's legs (silently wondering what happens to the rest of the body - is there a market that sells legless frogs?? God knows.) They looked and tasted like chicken wings. I don't know if I was expecting them to be green and creepy looking (ok, for sure I was expecting them to be green and creepy looking, but they weren't.)
I spent a bit more time swimming in the pool by the ocean, but some stalker guy was beginning to get on my nerves. I love swimming and don't like people trying to have conversations with me in the pool. I came to swim, not to be hit on:-) Oh, sidenote though - everyone at the pool and the beach had some serious beach bodies! Ivorians don't play - abs, ripped chests....lots of eye candy around.
I really wanted to swim in the ocean, but so far we had only been swimming in the pool. Everyone kept on saying "The ocean is dangerous - be very careful." I was a bit cocky and thinking to myself "Amateurs....I swim a minimum of 50 lengths everytime I go swimming - I am not scared of the ocean." I should have really paid attention to them. As I walked to the ocean they still told me "Ciku fait attention! Ciku be careful." I calmly walked to the water and in the next minute or so I saw my life flash before my very own eyes. What a stupid death it would have been. "We warned her about the ocean, but she was obstinate." I have never been manhandled by water like that. As soon as I got into the water, crazy huge waves came knocked me off my feet and submerged me. Every time I tried to stand up another wave would come and try to finish me off. I was struggling underwater, drinking water, overwhelmed. When I finally managed to get back up and on solid ground I went back to my friends. "How was it?" "It was ok, but I will just swim in the pool - it's kinda boring swimming alone in the ocean." I could not tell them the truth for I would surely deserve the "I told you so's" that would come my way:-)
That night I slept like a baby when I got home. My final thought as I gave in to sleep was "So that is how even strong swimmers drown - not all waves are created equal." It was a humbling experience.