Our friends here have invited us to the Sea with them every time they have gone, but every time we have had something going on or just wasn’t great timing. This year when they stopped by to give their condolences and invited us we decided to take them up on that offer.
We knew it was going to be a cultural experience and might be a little frustrating at times but we’ve known them long enough and lived here enough years that we thought we could do it.
Marvin was an amazing driver and drove 10 hours straight through the night, no stops. I don’t know how he did it, although he could barely move when he got out of the van.
Since we went with locals we did things they would do on vacation, like not have a place to stay before we left. No worries because at the place we went there are a couple of guys whose job is to help people find a place to stay. He drives around in a vehicle with a sign on top helping people find lodging. In exchanged he gets 10% of the person’s stay from the hotel. So after a few hours of searching we finally found a place.
Here’s the only picture we got of the place we stayed. I’m not sure what the equivalent is in English, basically someone who converted their back yard into a mini hotel. Only three rooms share a shower room and toilet. (It actually wasn’t that weird, maybe we’ve been here long enough we’ve adapted.) Then there was a shared kitchen for all 6 rooms.
Marvin is very much a planner. It works great on vacations because I make suggestions about what would be fun to do and he figures out how to get there and if it’s worth doing. So it was a little hard for him to hear a suggestion and wonder if we were really going to do it. After a lot of talk and not seeing anyone get ready to go and having our boys running around completely bored we decided we would just go to the beach in the morning and then after naps.
So all week long we just played in the sand and water.
Calvin loved the water.
Micah loved the sand. It was a great combo.
We went to a sandy beach that was very family friendly. So I think we were spared from some of Europe’s skimpy suits. But of course Speedos and bikinis on all body shapes were abundant.
Our kids were pointed at several times. Their rash guard swim shirts and floaties were quite the talk of the beach.
Yet all the children in their underwear or naked, not weird.
It was a great beach, very shallow and other than the sea weed on a few days I was impressed at how clean the beach was and I saw people actually put things in the trashcan vs. throwing them on the ground like they do in our part of the country. It gave me hope that maybe someday we wouldn’t see plastic bags everywhere.
Our trip was cut short a couple of days because our friends’ youngest daughter had a fever.
It was drama. The fever was around 101- 102 degrees F, so not super high, the sweet little thing seemed to be smiling and playing, but people freak out here with fevers, coughs, blood pressure, etc. So they called the ambulance to look her over.
I’ve finally figured out they have two different ambulances. One is for emergencies and the other is like a nurse who comes to your house and gives you shots of who knows what or an IV. It’s different, but it’s what people do. My friend was convinced that her daughter was sick because she was walking on the concrete barefoot, and I’m not the slightest bit joking. I’m never sure how to respond to that.
So they gave her some shots of something to bring down her fever and gave them a long list of things to pick up at the pharmacy. So we decided to leave and go home day two of her fever.
The ride home was a test of our patience. The boys and I were in the back of the van which only has vents in the front. We left during the day and it was in the 90s and sunny. So any AC must come from the front. We had 9 people in the van which adds a lot of body heat, so to get it cool in back you had to leave the AC on. Now AC and wind is dangerous to children and elderly here. So you can imagine how concerned they were for the feverish baby and the AC. They turned off the AC after she woke up from her nap because she was soaking wet, from being wrapped up in blankets in the sun, but never mind that fact. I thought Marvin turned on the heat, it was crazy hot.
We finally stopped and it was time to give her medicine, which involved a shot of something and antibiotics. A few hours back on the road it was time for medicine again. I’m sure it tasted awful and the poor thing had had enough and up came everything. Poor girl. Thankfully she slept the rest of the trip and we made it home.
We were glad we went but man, were we glad to be home.