Butre Beach or bust

“You girls should go check out Butre Beach. It’s just a short walk from here, not even three kilometers,” our new, New Zealand friend, Will, tells us.

So, okay, we think. Sure. Why not? After a hearty breakfast at the street corner shop- an egg mixed with vegetables, toasted on sweet bread and served with a cup of coffee- we set off for a relaxing, peaceful stroll to the sister beach just “over there,” he points round the bend.

We pack Ruth’s purse full of water sachets, a jar of ground nut paste (peanut butter, more or less), some local bananas, a loaf of sweet bread (in my opinion, one of human kind’s greatest culinary inventions) and a butter knife.

After walking about half a mile down a stretch of bright, beautiful beach, we see the sign: “Butre Beach- 3 km.”Soon after turning on the path, we realize it probably wasn’t the best idea to wear flip-flops. And Ruth shouldn’t have worn a dress. And me? I should have worn some type of material on the lower half of my body. Besides my swim suit bottoms, of course.

We’re basically hiking through the “bush” as Africans call it, when we get about two kilometers down the way and we realize that we have no idea where we are. And we’re coming up to a fork in the path. So we turn right. By this point, our flip-flops have turned into mud platforms with huge cakes of sticky dirt building thicker with each step. One of Ruth’s flip-flops finally managed to wear through, so to top it off- hers has a hole in the heel.

Well I guess you could say we took the wrong path. It quickly turns into a steep, downhill and muddy slope from the previous night’s rain. Ruth ventures first. I get out the camera. About halfway down, her feet start kicking up from under her, and she slides down the rest of the hill on her butt. I laugh until my stomach aches. When she finally manages to pick herself up, her dress is covered in orange, chunky mud.

And so we emerge from the bush. Ruth’s dress- totally ravaged, and accompanied by one holey flip-flop. Pantless me, with a sweaty and mud-streaked body. Both of us walking on stilts of compacted dirt. And then we see the ocean. The very same beach we started the whole hiking, falling down the mountainside ordeal from.

That was when we gave up trying to find Butre. Busua Beach will do just fine, we agree. And we sit down on a small cluster of rocks to enjoy our peanut butter and banana sandwiches under the African palms. Maybe one day I’ll get to see the mystery that is Butre Beach.

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