Today was beach day. It didn't start out very promising though. Slept in until 10 this morning and when I finally made it to deck 5 (the first deck with windows) it was dark and gloomy outside. Bummer. Anyhoo, wasn't too worried about it cause we weren't going to the beach until 2, and you wait 5 minutes and the weather will change. And change it did. When we got to the beach it was perfect. A nice mix of sun and clouds. It didn't get too hot and the waves weren't bad. The tide was out and then started to come in. We played frisbee and built sandcastles, splashed around in the waves, climbed on the rocks and just enjoyed ourselves. I went with some of my friends, Erika and Jay, and there were other Mercy Ship people as well.
Erika & Josiphine build our sand city
A game of volleyball started with 5 mercyship people and 5 native girls, all of which were topless! It made for some interesting times. The poor guys didn't know what to make of it and we gave them a hard time afterwards. We ended the day watching the sunset from the rocks, playing guitar and singing songs. It was beautiful. Behind us, thunder was rumbling and the clouds made for some wonderful coloring for the sunset.
Yesterday we went to Hotel Docur, a 5 star hotel here in Monrovia. It has lost its former beauty due to the war, closing its doors in 1991 and then becoming barracks for a military group and then overrunned by squaters.
Sunset on the beach
Today the displaced people have been removed from the hotel, but it is in shambles. The drive up to the hotel is pretty, but overgrown with jungle. A statue of the first liberian president meets you at the top with the history of liberia around its pedistal. We got a tour of sorts from 2 mercy shippers who come to the hotel quite often and the caretaker, Moses, who had been with the hotel for 30 years. We climbed to the top and from there we can see the whole city of Monrovia and our ship. It was breathtaking. Even though the hotel is in ruins, you can still sense the majesty it once had. The rumor is that they are trying to rebuild it. We'll see. Then we went back to the craft market and I got a really good deal.
I talked 2 guys down from $25 for 2 statues to $10 for 2. They didn't want to, but I told them I only had $10 and couldn't go higher, so they had to make a decision, how bad do they want my money? I won out in the end. The craft market I found is right across the street from the US Embassy, who would have thunk. After a quick market stop, we treated ourselves to ice cream. Ice cream is expensive here and you have to eat it right away cause it'll melt. Most people can't afford ice cream, so its a treat.
So tomorrow starts our week of work. Its been nice having time off, but I wish it had happened later when I"ve been here awhile, most interesting trips had been planned before I got here, so I didn't have many options. Oh well, I still have time to get out and see the country.