Mary Lou started to walk down the crowded dirt road with a hand slighted raised in an attempt to hail a taxi. The four of us followed close behind while in continual observation of our surroundings. The road was fully occupied by small, yellow cars that were fashionable in the early 80’s. After 20 feet of walking and hand raising, a car was persuaded to pull over.
“Two American dollars to take us to Cici beach,” said Mary Lou leaning into the open window.
“Two, dollars, to go to Cici beach? No,” replied the driver.
“Alright, five, but your really making me spend a lot of money.”
“Okay, five dollars to Cici Beach. Get in.”
I opened the rusted, poorly painted yellow door and climbed across the threadbare backseat. Two friends joined me, while Mary Lou and Sandy shared the front with the driver. Our driver was tall, dark and thin. He had widely set, distinct cheekbones which framed two serious dark brown eyes. His soft-spoken African annunciated English was hard for me to decipher.
We joined the parade of yellow taxis on the dirt road and were onward towards our destination. Quickly, we were stuck in a Liberian traffic jam as the road was crowded by people from market, which was lining both sides of the road. As dewy drops of sweat trickled down the sides of my face, I gazed out my window at the vast array of colors which comprised the Liberian market.
Stout, dark women wrapped in African fabrics made of vivid reds, green, gold’s, and blues walked through the dense collection of venders. Some carried babies on their backs who were held there by long, carefully wrapped fabric. Others balanced large cargos on the tops of their heads so effortlessly, it was like a magicians trick.
Dozens of men and woman sat selling fruits, plastic flip-flops, clothes, and bread. Some were fortunate enough to have a shoddily constructed awning to sell under, others carried their goods, some sat it the dirt under the hot sun.
As we sluggishly moved forward, dark eyes peered through our windows. Our light skin made it quite obvious we were foreigners, the small minority. And I was far, far, away from home.