Monday 11th March 2013
Bamenda to Douala
Today we were up at 7am and packed our bags, 8am breakfast in the Zwinkel’s Guesthouse. Evaristus bought the bus tickets and met us with the taxi at 8.30am and we headed off to the bus station. A treat awaited us today as the VIP bus was ready to go but still had empty seats. We got made an offer we could not refuse and for only CFA500 (about$A1) extra each we could upgrade and get on this luxury transportation where we actually had our own seat exclusively for us – with no sharing. Plus the bus was spotlessly clean. As we got on the bus we passed a priest/vicar who stood at the top of the steps giving a sermon and then prayers for a safe journey and finally a blessing. This made David feel much better – actually the driver wasn’t too scary. We set off almost immediately at around 9.15am from the bus terminal at Bamenda towards Douala which is about 6 hours away. Up over the mountains and down the other side towards the low coastal plain we travelled, through vistas of tropical fruit fields of pineapple, guava, bananas, palm trees, and every other type of vegetable, through small villages and larger towns, each bursting with life as well as extremely run down looking houses and buildings. The rainy season must really take a toll here in Cameroon, when you look at the houses. Every time we slowed, at police checkpoints, local people bombarded the bus with items for sale – loaves of bread, bunches of bananas, plastic bags with guava, rolled banana leaves containing cooked cassava. The traders had to do quick business – money and goods exchanged hands in seconds. We were supposed to stop for a 15min lunch stop (aka toilet stop) halfway through the journey but this never happened and Lynn congratulated herself for her foresight in not taking a single drop of liquid that day. Whilst driving we borrowed someone’s newspaper and read an item where 2 unfortunate lovers in Zimbabwe had been attacked by a lion whilst ‘in the act’ and the woman had been eaten whilst the man escaped wearing only a condom. Another item was about a large ape that had frightened a woman in Cameroon, eventually being killed by the police with 52 shots. At the same time a Fon (king), who had the power to turn into a chimpanzee, had fallen ill and it was assumed by his people that he had been the attacking ape (whilst out of his body) and so they asked for the heart of the offending animal. This was provided and the Fon recovered. When we reached the coastal plain, it was greener and more lush with grass about 5m high and bamboo even higher. We finally reached the bus terminal in Douala and as we got off the bus we noticed one of our fellow passengers had a live chicken in a shopping bag, and then we took a taxi to our hotel about 40 minutes away in the city near the port. After changing some money out of town we then checked into the hotel and slaked our thirst with a beer in the garden accompanied by a cat sitting on one of the spare seats at our table. We then had an aperitif in our room (yikes! Almost no rum left!!!). Just waiting for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Weather today was warm and it is quite humid now we are back near the coast.