Last Friday, the entire Embassy family went out for a team building by the beach. Back home, office outings would require you take a trip that is at least two hours away, where most of the good places are; if you wanted to go to the beach, somewhere farther, especially for us Manilenyos. But here in Tripoli, since most of us lived in Janzour the beach was an amazing 10 minute drive.
Last year, a few months after we arrived we were able to go the Bulgarian beach, which is a bit farther, about an hour away. But this year they decided to hold it in TBT, it’s sort of a beach resort/hotel. One of the embassy staff stayed there a few days after he arrived here before he found a place to move in. I think you need to pay to get in, and inside are small bungalows the size of a room where you can stay or rent. Since we were only staying for the day, a tent was assembled and the food was brought in ala pot luck.
I would’ve liked to bring something I made, but I am still not confident with my cooking skills enough to have people, other than JG to eat it. So JG just pitched in some cash which was better. Okay, truth is, I still felt bad and decided I was going to make brownies to bring, but I think I burnt it a little which caused the whole batch to harden a little… okay a lot harder. Good thing I did not tell anyone I was making it for the trip.
Anyway, we get there and I was really excited because I love beaches and although I am not a champion swimmer (not even close) I really like spending a hot sunny day with people you know and snorkeling for shells. Unfortunately, mother nature was a bit moody that day, so despite the sunshine, the waves were bigger and choppier than the ideal calm and serene one would like. But that did not stop people from swimming. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was still a swimmable sea; although I could no longer go snorkeling, it was fun to slam into the big waves and try to see how far you’d get. And in case you want to know, I did not get that far.
And it wasn’t just because I did not have that much strength to fight the waves, but because the assigned life guard that day stood a few meters farther and kept people from going pass him. Some of the more eager swimmers including the younger local boys were a bit frustrated at his presence; to be honest I was a bit myself.
However, few hours later, the beach that we all went there for became totally off limits. The lifeguard starts to nicely but firmly to get people off the beach, as in no one was no longer allowed to go in. You could sit by the shore, but that, would only be fun if you were a three-year-old. We hoped that the sea would calm down in a couple of hours, and after a while some of the men gauged that it was okay and came back in. But “Mr. Hasselhoff” just came back and told them to back to the shore again. They said that he kept saying something like “haater” in Arabic, which was later explained by one of the translators in the embassy as “dangerous”. Some of the local boys, even made an attempt to plead and argue with him but he was determined not to let anybody swim back in.
Nevertheless, it kind of made me feel safer knowing he was there, it was a bit overprotective and paranoid in some level, but hey, you really can’t argue with better being safe than sorry.
We left earlier than the others so I did not know if they were able to swim some more. I wish I could’ve gone back in some more but, it’s always just nice to get a little bit of something good once in a while. Hopefully next time the sea would be much calmer so Mr. Lifeguard won’t have to worry too much. Nevertheless the day at the beach was fun, you could never really go wrong with good company, good food (no thanks to me, thank God), and a beautiful beach – off limits, but beautiful none the less.
P.S. I few days later, the people at the embassy told me that they weren’t allowed to go back in after we left, so they left eventually too. Meanwhile, aside from being sunburned, I am currently nursing a very very sore back and a few other body parts that are aching from my “fun” encounters with the big waves. So if Mr. Lifeguard wasn’t so protective that day I would probably be bed ridden now, so in hindsight, he kind of did me a favor. Told you, better safe than sorry…