Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Road trip

From Cameroon - Tr...

Yesterday was a public holiday in Cameroon. It was the end of Ramadan. Cameroon is a Christian and Muslim country so Public holidays are given to festivals of both religions. Only really the government offices and schools close. HINT was open but our friends Didymus and Sylvester offered to take us on a trip to Limbe so we accepted. Sylvester is the only person I know in Cameroon to have a car. Didymus and Sylvester are brothers and live opposite us in a huge compound. Their Dad has 5 wives, and 22 children. Didymus and Sylvester have different mothers. They all live together, one big happy family.

So off we set. First stop Metegene to visit Sylvester's wife. It is just down the road from Buea. She works there so lives there with her family during the week and comes to the family compound in Buea at the weekends. We have driven though Metegene a few times, it is on the road out of Buea. This is the first time we have stopped there and a doubt we will again. It is a rough place, they make guns and counterfeit money there. You get robbed walking around the market - so we will not be visiting it.

After a nice refreshing drink of top pamplemousse we carried on our way. First stop Limbe zoo. Well its not really a zoo anymore more of a Monkey sanctuary. They have Chimps, Gorillas, Drills, Mandrills and many more. They also have a couple of crocodiles and a snake (don't worry mum it is a big pit so you can easily avoid it).

We then went west of Limbe up the coast. We passed the sight of the 1999 lava flows from Mount Cameroon. We were supposed to pay to climb up the lava and take photos. So we took this sneaky picture from the other side. The lava flowed right over the road so a new road has been built around the edge. No one was killed as a result of the eruption, the local area was evacuated.

We headed to the Seme beach hotel. It was very nice, fully of white people. I have not seen so many in months, it was actually hard not to stare! It was a lovely area. The tide was high so did not really see the beach. Black sand due to the volcano and black rocks at the edge. We went for a paddle, then a walk along the prom to where a spring water river from the mountain flows in to the sea. It was beautiful crystal clear water. We will return with Sylvester and Didymus and teach them to swim. We had to pay 1000CFA each to enter the hotel then swapped our ticket for a beer at the bar with another 200CFA to top up the price.

We then travelled back in to Limbe to the fishing beach. Sylvester wanted to buy some smoked fish. He explained to us he is a vegetarian and only eats smoked fish, not fresh or roasted only smoked. We went to the smoking area of the town. It is an immigrant community from Nigeria and has that feel. The fishing boats had not long come in and people were passing with huge baskets of fish on their heads. So he got the fish and we headed home.

Got stuck in a traffic jam on the way home. They are currently digging up the road that goes in and out of Buea (there is only one). The road is in a terrible state and they are fixing it, very slowly. So currently there is a really big hole in the road and a diversion around it. The diversion is one lane wide but takes traffic from both directions. There is no order or control it is a free for all. One the way out it was easy as there were few cars about but now it is rush hour. I think there had been a crash which made the traffic 10 times worse. So there was about 3 lanes of traffic trying to get down to one. Some Guinness lorry driver obviously thought he was bigger than us and instead of waiting for our car to pass would try and go through us. So I am sat in the back with a front of a lorry slowing coming towards me. He then stops once he hits our rear wing. Not much damage is done. The small back window is smashed so I moved to the middle of the seat to avoid bits of glass falling on me. We complain to the lorry driver who does not care. So we carry on our journey home having taken his plate number. Then we stop in the Guinness depot in Buea to complain. They say we have to report it to the police. So Didymus and Sylvester drop us of and trundle up to the police station.
The driver should be stopped by the police at a road block today. Then Guinness' insurance will pay to fix the car. A bad ending to a lovely day.

1 comment:

Alieu said...

I am happy to read about your day trip to Limbe. It reminded me about my own visits there. I used to visit my girl friend then and wife now while I was a student at Pan Afrique in 1997/98.

Thanks for sharing. Just note that Cameroon is in Central Africa and not West Africa as you stated.