We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lee Anna! Maya! Self!

Yesterday we had a fun family day. A friend had told us that some of the hotels here will let you use their swimming pools for free if you eat at their poolside restaurants, and since Lee Anna loves nothing more than putting on her “baby suit” (bathing suit) and playing in the "maya" (Arabic for water), we decided to give it a try.

Jason talked to our friend that morning, and he gave us the name of the “best” hotel to use. He told us not to go in the main entrance of the hotel, but to go in the side entrance next to the pool. He assured us this hotel pool would be the least crowded.

We had the taxi driver let us off near the hotel entrance and started looking for the side entrance—no luck. We checked both sides and found no entrance and no pool. Out of other options, we walked in the front entrance and told the man at the desk we were looking for the swimming pool. He said, “Oh, sure, no problem. It’s on the 16th floor.” That’s when we realized our friend must have been mistaken.

The man happily directed us to the elevator and sent us to the 16th floor. When we got off the elevator, we followed the signs outside and then walked up a staircase leading to the roof. A quick glance around told us that we were going to have a quiet swim. There was no one in sight! There were lots of lounge chairs and umbrellas, and even a big covered area, but no people—and no restaurant. Luckily, we had eaten a big breakfast, so we decided to just enjoy the pool for a little while and then head home.

From the 16th floor, the view was pretty impressive. It was fun to see our part of the city from a new perspective.

By the pool, there was a big sign that said, in English, “This pool is for hotel visitors only,” but we figured if the guy behind the front desk was okay with it, we were probably safe. There’s a good chance the people who put that sign there didn’t know what it said, anyway.

Sawyer’s still a little too young to be out in this fierce sun, so he and Mom mostly just played under the covered area.
Lee Anna and Dad, however, had a blast in the pool and stayed until they were quite wrinkled. After much coaxing and cajoling, Lee Anna even let go of his hands briefly and spent a few minutes floating and kicking by herself. That night, she summed it up to a friend of ours with this bilingual sentence: “Lee Anna! Maya! Self!” (Hey, it counts as a sentence to us!)

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