We went to have a good time. Of course, I had to convince Sky he actually wanted to go to the beach. Or just was going to the beach whether he wanted to or not. I mean it's the beach for gods sake! Who doesn’t want to go to the beach? The one we're going to is going to be too crowded he said. I couldn't think of anything else to do and I had already packed the lunch and the plan was set in motion. So we're going, like it or not.
I asked the kids to pack the boogie boards, umbrella and the bag with the towels and blanket that were on the kitchen counter. Again and again. Then, Sky complained he didn’t want ‘that’ kind of sandwich, the kind I made. This is after he silently watched me make it and pack it. I wanted to whack him with the horrible, disgusting sandwich, but it just wouldn’t hurt enough and it wouldn’t get us any closer to the beach. I checked to see that each child was wearing a bathing suit, a much more tedious process than I will detail here. We’re almost ready to head out the door when the phone rings. It was Craig calling from Cameron, so I had to take it. We talked for about 5 minutes while the kids loaded the car. Then we all piled in for the 30 minute drive to our favorite beach.
When we get on the coastal road, the traffic is heavier than usual. This is a bad sign, it’s going to be packed. The Moroccans are cramming in their last beach outings before Ramadan starts. Sky was right. They'll be in the water boogie boarding anyway so it won't be a big deal to anyone but me who’ll be sitting on the shore. We pull in and unload the car. I'm acting all glass half full so I don’t throw the drink or just the glass at someone right now.
I’m making everyone carry their own boogie board. I’m so mean. Then parcel out the umbrella, cooler, a couple of wet suits and a chair. They’re sure this is child slave labor. We haul our beach necessities across the busy road through the alley that smells like concentrated cat piss until we get to the congested beach, which still smells like cat piss strewn with rusty cans and garbage. I busy myself organizing and setting everything up when Sky asks where the beach blanket is. “I don’t know, where IS it? I only reminded you to pack it a mere 5 times!” The bag that the blanket was in was also the bag that contained the towels.
After I got off the phone, I forgot to check that everything got done. I don't know if I'm more pissed at myself, him or that everywhere in Morocco smells like cat piss. I’m definitely not pissed at me because I’m way too busy pitying myself. It’s his fault and the fault of all the one-eyed, three legged feral cats who probably drink puddles of piss in the alleyways and then piss out super concentrated piss. All I know is, I’m not driving 30 minutes home to go get anything.
Ok, I can solve this. We'll simply go to one of the handful of beach stands and buy towels. I leave the boys to hold down the fort and take the girls with me to walk down the beach and get some. We had to park way down the road, so we have to backtrack a long way to civilization and the vendors. It’s still early and most of the stands still aren't open. The two that are don’t have any towels for sale. Not even one. I'm starting to feel panicky that I left the boys on the crowded beach in Morocco and I don’t know how to say “towel” or “someone stole my boys and sold them to a leather tannery in Fez and I’m afraid I’ll never see them again and if I do they’ll permanently smell like wet leather”, in either French or Arabic. Really? Why didn't I pack the French phrase book to go to the beach? What WAS I thinking?
The girls and I make it back to our umbrella and the boys are waiting for us. Thank god. But the kids are asking to go home. Oh hell no. We’re staying. I don’t care how much it sucks, I didn’t come all this way for nothing. “I packed lunch, so we’re eating it here.” Everyone races to dig through the cooler to get their sandwiches. The worst sandwiches that have ever been packed for the worst day at the beach ever and they choke them down. Then they see the donut guy. Yes, every beach has a donut guy, a guy with a thermos of instant coffee and a guy with a camel for rides up and down the beach.
For more on that you can read my post Coffee Donuts and Camels .
I will do about anything to make this work at this point, so since they at their sandwiches I totally give into to buying them the donuts they’re all begging for. Although here in Morocco they’re called beignets, which is just French for greasy sugar sprinkled fried dough with a hole in it. Turns out eating a donut is only a good thigh killer, not a good time filler.
Ember started digging a hole. This is promising, cause we’re working minute by minute at this point.
Then they spot the toy vendor walking the beach selling balls made in China. Which leads my kids to ask why everything comes from China. Then one of them insists Canada is also in the top 3 exporters of products. “Oh Canada? I don’t think so. I think you've mistaken Canada for Korea or something.” (I googled when we got home. Surprisingly, Canada is actually number 9 in Worldwide Exports while South Korea is number 6, which makes me right, sort of.) Anyway, the whole line of questioning on world trade did get me to buy a ball that looks like a watermelon that was probably made by a kid in China and was sold by a Moroccan kid with beignet sugar all over his face. At least I think that’s what that was.
I finally sit down in the chair we schlepped here to relax, but after only 5 minutes of a whirlwind game of dodge-a-toxic-Chinese-melon, the kids were done. Unequivocally done. Then they all announced that they voted and it was unanimous, they were ready to go home. Nothing in our house is ever unanimous. And no one has ever used “unanimous” in a sentence before. They know exactly how to manipulate me while improving their SAT verbal scores at the same time. Our day at the beach lasted an hour. The car trip there and backs takes just as long. All that work only killed 2 hours of our long summer day. The remainder of it will be spent cleaning out the copious amounts of sand out of our nooks and crannies. Life is definitely not a beach, unless unfortunately, it is!