We just came back from the beach.
I want to pause a bit and just look at that sentence. It sends a thrill of happiness throughout my body every time I read it.
Ok, so we didn't swim.
Ok, we went at night.
Ok, there wasn't any beach 'experience' (i.e. umbrellas, cocktail fruity drinks, music playing etc)
But I had so so so much fun.
We weren't even told where we were going, just that we were going for a jawla (stroll). We thought that meant just driving around the city in a bus, and enjoyed it thoroughly for the first 10 minutes, taking picture of the huge crowds of guys just chilling in the streets (truly, I don't think I've ever seen such a huge number of people with such a miniscule number of women). We also saw the river-looking-like sea. Basically they've somehow forced the sea into a channel so it look like the Nile, kind of, but is really the sea. There was a silly moment when we thought we were going to this big market/ tiny amusement park, but the real surprise was so much better.
The bus parked on the road, which had dozens and dozens of groups of men/ families sitting outside their parked cars chilling in the breeze, eating/ chewing Qat/ listening to music. I even saw one guy sitting in front of a bonfire.
We then made our way to the beach, and waded out into the sea. The feeling of the cool, squishy sand (a lot firmer than the beaches back home though) was heaven, as were the waves crashing into us—the waves here aren't like the ones back home, which come one at a time, they actually crash four or five at a time. I'm glad we went at night—in the morning we probably wouldn't have been as free to go in as deep (knee height at least) and the sun would have been really intense.
We ran on the beach (the guys played football), wrote on the sand, and took lots of pictures. But perhaps best of all, we saved a life.
So it was the life of a fish that lies on the bottom of the sea and that kept blinking at us, but still. It had been pushed to the shore by the waves and drying out. So like the Chinese fable of the whale, we began pouring water over it to keep it from drying out. It took the combined efforts of 8 girls, the front and back covers of my notebook to slide under it to carry it (somehow, it's always my stuff that needs to be sacrificed), two electric shocks, and flipping the fish on its back a couple of times, but eventually we returned it to the sea to the sound of cheers and whoops from all of us. Mission accomplished.
On our way back, we stopped at a supermarket. And although it took us an hour because only two of us were allowed in (so those two had to make a huge list with what all 25 of us wanted, take our money, go buy the stuff and separate each person's list and money) it was worth it. I am now the proud owner of a Cadbury chocolate bar which I have been craving more than Charlie wanted that Willy Wonka bar, and half a dozen mangoes which I will savor.
Our room is all sandy now and I don't care. And even if I did, housekeeping will take care of it. :) And now to my fluffy, real live bed!