Thursday, January 11, 2007
And now we wait
Yesterday we went to Yaounde to try and sort out our visa trouble. Traveling there was fun as always. The exhaust silencer fell off the bus not far out of Buea, and I am sure the side panel next to me kept moving. We finally arrived at about midnight after a very squished bus ride from Douala. Genesis friend had organised a lovely hotel for us to stay in at a great price, we were fit to collapse by the time we arrived and went straight to sleep.
In the morning we got up early to meet Pastor Joseph who will help us sort stuff out. Genesis had planned to meet him at 8am so he arrived about 10. After a couple of phone calls to his Colonel mate, who is a member of his congregation he went off with our documents and passports (worry ye not he is a nice bloke, we think he did not speak much English). We waited for his call, which came an hour or two. He was unable to get us free residents permits however they can extend our visas for 50 000 each, which is half the price of our original visas we bought in London. OK that's great so off we all trot to the immigration offices. It is decided we wait and Genesis and Pastor Joseph go in, to avoid white man prices. We wait in the local police watering hole where half the Cameroon police are drinking beer on their lunch break. An hour or so later they return. Our applications are in for the visa, it will take a day or two. They will be ready on Monday at the latest (which is good as our current visas expire on Monday). So after all my practising, I never got to use my pleading face due to never seeing an official.
After all this we all went for a well deserved lunch at Pastor Joseph's house. We stepped off a main road surrounded by multi-storey buildings in to a maze of red dust paths with with various houses dotted about, many made of bamboo and clay. Such a contest to the busy inner city road we had just stepped off. We had an amazing lunch thanks to Pastor Joseph's wife, Carp (which was huge) and plantain fries. Great work at such short notice and while she is fasting.
We left our passports and money to pay for the visa with pastor Joseph who will go back to the offices once they are approved to get the stamp in the passport and pay for them. If they reject them - we will cross that bridge when we come to it. However we have a few high up people phoning the visa office on our behalf to vouch for us.
So the issue is not completely resolved but getting there. We arrived home late last night after a very crammed journey home. We took a clando from Douala to Buea, these are overfilled cars with 4 in the back and 2 on the front passenger seat. Joe, Genesis and I were sat in the back when a rather large lady appeared. Genesis said to us 'oooh she is too fat', he then proceeded to tell her she was too fat and could not fit. She huffed and puffed and squeezed herself in, making the journey pretty uncomfortable.