After breakfast at the Royal, we drove down to the waterfront market (below), which was filled with Liberians selling clothing and household supplies. It was chaotic, but not so much as the red-light market, which would trap us in traffic jams. We didn’t get out and shop here, just drove through. In fact, I didn’t buy anything non-edible in Liberia, because what a tourist will find is a lot of stuff that is made in China or resembles 99-cent store merchandise. MacDella said she even bought body lotion once that had 99 cents written on it, but they charged her $15 US dollars! So sorry, friends and family, no presents for you from Liberia — but I do have tons of pictures which I’ll be uploading and transforming into slideshows.
After lunch, Gen and I had our last baths from a bucket (woo hoo!) and then gave the girls some parting presents — Barbies, Barbie clothes, and a tea set. Marci helped Belle unwrap her Barbie and she loved it, calling it her “baby.” What I found interesting though — and MacDella says this is a cultural thing — is that Leila and Hajal wouldn’t open their gifts, even though we prompted them to do so. They said thanks and smiled, but unlike an American kid who would have torn it apart in 2 seconds, I guess they wanted to savour the mystery of what could be beneath the snowman gift wrap and metallic gift bow. Even though they could probably guess it was the same thing Belle got? I’m not sure. But obviously Liberian children’s lives don’t revolve around toys and presents like in the US.
When we got to the Liberia, security check was ever simpler than pre-9/11 in the US. It’s just a metal detector, not an X-ray machine like Europe and the states have. But in Liberia’s case, international terrorism doesn’t rank high on the list of worries — domestic issues are much more severe, so I guess we weren’t too surprised.
I’ll write more later about the actual flight, homecoming and post a cute video. Just wanted to let you know I’m home safe. But I’ve got sooo much more to write, here and beyond!