One of my favorite songs in the world, (and I have quite a collection of those), is ” Road Trippin’ ” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, because it perfectly describes what I love about driving to a destination, with great company, creating long-lasting memories and bonds, if for a moment. And this long weekend, was definitely, a memorable one.
Here in Cote d’Ivoire, and pretty much anywhere else in the world, May 1st is the celebration of International Labor Day, which fell on a Monday, this year. I got an extra long weekend to relax, right after Easter. So, I decided to really enjoy myself and let loose a bit. And off we were, myself, baby brother, couple of his buddies, to a resort town about 1 hour away from the city. The town is called Assinie, and is known for its beautiful beaches (one of the best in West Africa) and rustic, yet gorgeous scenery. It’s one of the several towns along the Atlantic Ocean coast, where the sea is calmer and people can swim pretty far out, without being trapped by some high waves.
The plan was to leave by 8 AM, beat traffic and spend the whole day, eating, frolicking and head back before sun down. A Sunday filled of sun, sea and sand to forget about our daily city routines, is what we wanted, but fate had other things in mind for us. The list of problems we encountered, started from the minute my brother got into his car, and kept increasing, every mile we got closer to our destination.
First problem, was our mean of transportation. My brother took his car to the mechanic the week before to get some work done on it, and got it back on Saturday with a little surprise from the mechanic: a drained car battery. The mechanic had replaced his car battery, and on a Sunday, it was almost impossible to find someone to sell us one. After numerous attempts, my brother was able to jump-start the car but under no circumstances, could we stop the car until we reached our destination And so we headed to Assinie, with a full tank of gas, and a lot of hope that we would get there, after already being delayed.
At around 30 minutes away from the resort town’s limits, we hear a little noise from the right side, just like a little rock, getting under the tires. I wasn’t alarmed until my brother deemed it necessary to stop and check the origin of that noise. And, as he suspected, we got a flat tire, right there in the middle of road, surrounded by tall bushes, and mosquitoes, and other creatures. In the trunk was a spare tire, but no tools to change the tires. At this point, I still was not panicking and was optimistic about getting to our destination. As my brother was about to call our cousin, who happened to be in Assinie too for the whole weekend, to come help us, we see a black and orange car drive past us, with our cousin in it. He and his group of friends were heading to look for a working ATM and, thankfully had in their trunk, a car jack. I’ve never been so happy to see this kid at that moment until my celebration was cut short. As soon as we switched tires, we remembered that we were driving with a bad battery. With the car not starting back, our cousin headed back again to Assinie to find jumping cables, and get a mechanic. To save time and also get out of the blistering, we decided to try stopping cars and ask their drivers for jumping cables. At the forefront of this operation, were myself and another girl. Because it’s a popular tourist resort, there would have been no shortages of cars to stop. But we underestimated people’s lack of compassion, and their being scared of being robbed. Out of 10 cars passing us by, only 2 would stop, and those two were men, local men, who actually were more interested in us than helping us out. As we were about to lose all hope, one good Samaritan turned his car around and came to our rescue. As a native of Assinie, he explained to us that no one would have stopped, especially foreigners. And that’s why he felt the need to come and make sure we were okay. The good Samaritan did not have jumping cables in his car, but he had bought, earlier some for his friends, who came around to help us.With their God-sent help and generosity, we were able to drive back to our destination.
After being delayed by 3 hours since leaving the city, we finally made it to Assinie. The sun was high, the air was tasty and salty, and I was ready to play in the ocean. The beaches were crowded, as expected, but not to the point of annoyance. Our adventure started with 3 of us, and by the time we reached Assinie, there were now 10 of us. Our cousin, being the unofficial “mayor” of the area, became our guide of circumstance and transformed what could have been a disastrous day, into one filled with laughter, drinks,delicious grilled chicken and fish. Despite all the crowds and busy resorts, he was able to find us the most idyllic location to watch the sunset. We had to go through a village of fishermen, to get to, what could be the last secluded area of the beach. It was just us, our food, our boombox and the sound of the waves crashing down. I felt content, relaxed, and especially grateful that we did not give up and push through, besides all our incidents. That view was the perfect reward to our endless efforts, grit and hard work, a true testimony to how much work we put ourselves through each working day, just to realize our dreams.
As I watched the sun come down, I reflected upon all the sacrifices I’ve made to get here, and it made all sense at that moment. That view made all the pains and work tiredness, and stress, more than worth it. We left, and heading back to the city, with shared memories that will warm our hearts, when thinking about our Labor day adventure, in Assinie.