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February 5, 2013 / samwilson60

Then came the kicker

One arsehole emerged from the crowd (otherwise overly curious and excitable, but seemingly well-meaning). To this day we genuinely believe he had no involvement in the situation, but he was hell bent on intimidating whatever he could get out of us. In his mind, we, as the rich tourists, had to compensate someone (him) for the grievous harm we had caused (to the driver of the other bike, we presume). He proceeded to follow us, shouting both for cigarettes and for compensation, for the 100 metres or so back to the hotel gate. Much as he wanted to, Sam would never have swung the three-foot lump of spring steel he had rested on his shoulder, but we don’t want to think how much closer he would’ve come had it not been there. And to our great dismay, he was not about to let it go at the hotel gate. In he strode for round two.

Speaking in a local language now, and with Cat trying to keep Sam calm (having already put the spring down under the truck), the arsehole apparently explained to the guy at the hotel that we were solely responsible for causing the accident. When Cat explained we were paying passengers on the back of the bike, and not the drivers as he had said, his next line of attack was that the spring blade Sam was carrying was the cause of a broken leg sustained by the driver of the other bike (he was totally unhurt and didn’t even fall over).

The bare-faced nerve of the guy was too much to cope with after the events of the past hour or so and we were angrier than we ever thought possible. The hotel guy did seem to see the situation for what it was but he clearly didn’t know what to do either. He called his boss, who happened to just be arriving in town from Yaoundé. He too required a rundown of the whole story from both sides before we could get rid of the arsehole and clean up Cat’s foot (and our driver’s, who appeared at some point as invited).

Eventually, the random arsehole realised he was intimidating us, which added to his bravado, but also that this was going nowhere, so disappeared with a few random threats and a packet of our cigarettes, just in time for the owner of the hotel to claim he’d saved the day. That’s when we realised we’d been in shock all this time, the car was still in bits, Cat’s heel was not seriously hurt but should probably be disinfected at least, and the only thing we wanted was to get the hell out of this town.

We couldn’t get the tent out as the high-lift jack was still blocking the boot, but we also felt sleeping within four walls and a locked door would be preferable to out in the car park, so we crashed out in the room without even trying to put up the mosquito net we had prised out of the boot. By morning we’d both been bitten beyond belief, but at least they’d not disturbed our much-needed sleep.

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