Monday, October 30, 2006
We had planned to be away for most of last week in Douala at the conference. Genesis and Marceline had gone off to Douala so we thought we would not get much work done so would go exploring for a few days. We went to Kribi. Its in the south province of Cameroon. A coastal town and popular beach resort. During the dry season at the weekends its full of expats, so we went mid-week to avoid this! This is a very comprehensive account of our trip. There was a lot to say. Lots of photos on flickr and Picasa.
We travelled down on Wednesday, first the bus to Douala where we then get another bus to Kribi. We got to Douala with little trouble quite a few stops at check points along the way where the driver has to go and show his paper work. Then one stop where we all had to show our paper work. One guys ID card was out of date so we ended up leaving him behind with the police. I do not want to get in to a debate but from what I have seen in Cameroon there are many reasons we do not want ID cards in the UK. Anyway we found the bus station for Kribi after checking with the locals and a bit of walking. Next to the bus station was a Chinese restaurant. So we decided we would get some lunch then worry about getting tickets etc. We had a lovely meal, some lovely dumplings and a much bigger serving than they would give you in the UK. After enjoying that and feeling like the day was going well we wondered in to the bus station to discover that they actually have a timetable and do not just leave when buses are full. The next bus is at 4:30, the time is currently 2pm and the previous bus left at 1:30 - doh! So went went for a walk to occupy ourselves and went for a nice cold beer. Trundled back to the bus station and waited in departures. 4:30 came and went and there was no sign of a bus so I went to investigate. The bus leaves from arrivals - of course why did we not think of this. So we got on 2 people to 2 seats - a luxury. It was about a 3 hour journey to Kribi, nice roads making it a very good journey.
It was dark when we arrived and we set out looking for a hotel. We walked along the sea front thinking there would be loads. We passed on but kept going to see what else there was. Saw a nice looking building on a by the sea so wondered up. Thought it looked a little like a fort but could be the hotels style. Gates were locked but there was a buzzer for reception so pressed that. No answer but there was a guy sitting near by so we got his attention. Turns out we had arrived at the presidency - oops. The man we chatted to was the caretaker, Mr Zang. We seamed like a nice bloke and took us to the nearest hotel - the one we had passed eariler! We checked in. It was nice we were told the price was 18 000 CFA a night but they could do us a deal how about 15 000 a night - OK we agreed.
Got up the next day at it was raining grrrr. We did not let this dampen our 'we are at the seaside and will have fun' spirits. We walked though the town to a beach in the south. We were the only ones on the beach most the time - few people wondered through. We splashed about in the sea and drew a map of the world on the beach - cannot really remember why we did this now but it was fun. Jumped around on the rocks until we noticed how the locals use them as a toilet so sat on the smaller rocks near us, read and chilled out. All this was mostly in the rain with it stopping occasionally and the sky being grey. Then trundled back to the town got some lunch and hung out for a bit on the beach near our hotel. Then went back to the hotel and noticed how pink we were. Oh yes we manged to get burnt in the rain. It was grey and rainy did not think about putting sunscreen on - oops
Lovely meal in the evening in a great restaurant called 'Le Marmite De Mole'. Great name and great food - very nice and a short walk from our hotel.
During the day Mr Zang had been to the hotel to offer his services as a guide. We were a little dubious but met up with him for a chat. He was telling us about all the bad people who try to rip us of etc. and said he would come with us to Lombe falls. So we got a cab and off we went. Our cab driver was a very nice man from the North West province so spoke English. The South Province is a French speaking area. The taxi driver stays at the falls with us as it is pretty remote and there will be no way to get home if not, well an 8km walk along the beach in the burning sun.
The falls were amazing we went on a boat trip to get a better view in a dug out canoe. The taxi driver came with us as it was no extra cost but got pretty scared as does not swim! There were a bunch of men on the beach ready to pounce on tourists offering boat rides and food. So after the ride we enjoyed some delicious prawns. They showed us the live prawns then went off too cook them. They were so good fresh prawns by the sea. Am I allowed to have such fun while I am supposed to be volunteering?!
We headed back to Kribi where we had to give Mr Zang a little something for his trouble. Note to self: Next time in Kribi give Felix the taxi driver a call - good man, do not worry too much about Mr. Zang. We then headed to our local beach and went for a swim. Watched the sunset and took far too many photos. While chatting to a nice French expat who appears to dislike Cameroon men. Meal in the same restaurant. Why change when you are on to a good thing.
And when we stopped in Douala on our journey back to Buea we got Pizza. It was soooooo good. They did not have 4 cheeses so I settled for a cheese, ham, mushroom and egg calzone - it was so good.