The weekend of camping on the beach lived up to expectations! After the language class finished for the day, Levi, his mom, and I packed up and headed out of headquarters. They were going back to Sibanor, but they were kind enough to drop me off in Brikama so I could meet up with James, Mez, and Simeon for the weekend. In Brikama, we grabbed a few more groceries for the weekend and then caught a couple gellies to get to the lodge we were going to stay near. We weren’t planning on actually staying at the lodge, but the guy in charge of the place gave us a good deal for camping (and being able to use their showers and toilets!) so we set up our campsite on their property.
After we set up the tents, we went to the beach (even though the sun had set for the evening) and went for a swim in the ocean with the fabulous waves. The moon was full so we could see really well even though the sun had set. After swimming, we got out and built a fire on the beach and made baked potatoes with garlic and beef jerky in tinfoil. Once they were cooked, we melted a bit of cheese with it too. Very tasty except for the bits of sand that sneaked in. Then we hung out and talked on the beach until 11 while we made s’mores (none of them had ever had a s’more before!) for dessert.
When we finally decided to go to bed, the guy in charge brought us to use a shower. Then we walked back to the tents to get set to go to bed. The boys in the little tent and the girls in the big tent (what gentlemen!). As we were getting ready though, Mez all of a sudden sees a HUGE crab crawling over her stuff! We didn’t scream too loud, but the boys came to rescue us and toss the crab out. We thought about cooking it and eating it, but it was too late to cook and eat it at that point, plus, our cooking pot was way too small to fit the crab in it. Oh well.
Saturday morning, we woke up about 7:30 and lazed around the campsite making breakfast and chatting about our countries (James and Mez: Aussies, Simeon: Swiss) and other various things until about noon. When we finally decided to head out, we decided to try to rent bikes for the day so that we could travel further. The lodge we were at didn’t have enough for all of us, so we walked up the beach to another lodge to see if they had enough and would give us a good price. They had set prices that were too expensive for us so we settled for taking foot transport. We walked down the beach to the Senegalese border (a river). The guys walked ahead of us girls and we had an awesome conversation about all sorts of things. I’m very sad that she was only here for a month visiting because she would have been an awesome person to get to know better. Once we got to the river we walked inland to the coastal road and stopped for lunch at a restaurant (on the river). Although I would like to say that the meal was wonderful and we had an awesome time there, that would not be true. I would honestly have to say it was the worst meal I’ve eaten since arriving here. There was sand in the dough so every bite was crunchy and the cheese tasted funny. Everyone else was able to finish their pizza, but I had to give the second half of mine to Simeon to finish.
After we finished, we walked back to our campsite via the coastal road and grabbed a few groceries for dinner and breakfast in the town. On the way, we asked each other random questions like “if you could be a fruit, what fruit would you be?” It was a blast. We are all pretty different so we had a lot of crazy answers but it was cool to get to know all of them better.
When we got back to camp, we quickly went for a swim as the sun set (I didn’t get any pictures of the sun setting on the beach 🙁 ). The waves were bigger and we swam out further, because it was so relaxing to swim after walking all day. Then we made a fire and made our dinner of tapalapa with potato and mayo as a filling (actually quite good, especially compared to lunch). We continued asking each other random questions during and after supper, but got tired earlier so headed for bed after taking a shower.
Sleeping in the tents was not the most comfortable arrangement but I slept much better the second night (I was exhausted from walking and swimming). As anyone who has gone camping knows, it’s not very comfortable to sleep on the ground, and I am pretty bony, so it’s almost impossible to find a comfortable position to sleep. The other thing that made it hard to sleep was worrying about rain coming in the middle of the night. Rainy season is leaving, but it still means that rain is possible. To make it worse though, we had set up camp under palm trees that rustle like pouring rain when the wind blows through them. I had left a few things out to dry so I kept thinking that I had to get up and run to grab them in the middle of the night and rearrange our bags to keep the rain from leaking into the tent, but it was only the wind. Whew!
Sunday morning we woke up and had porridge for breakfast (yum!), and then had church on the campsite. We sang songs and had a discussion for the teaching part. Then we chatted until about noon when we packed up and got a private gelly to take us to the tourist area (pretty close to headquarters) to get good pizza and dessert at the supermarket before taking the gellies back to Sibanor. The weekend was awesome, but it was exhausting. I’m glad I went, but I’m glad I got to sleep in my own bed that night.