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February 5, 2013 / samwilson60

Where to next?

We woke up still happy to be in grassy surrounds (they even started clearing the rubbish dump, perhaps realising the potential it was encroaching upon), but we were ready to move on. Whether or not we went back to the scrap yard, Sam wasn’t ready to take the suspension apart again quite yet so there was little point in hanging around.  That said, we were at a bit of a loss as to where to go. Mount Cameroon had long been the aim and, infuriatingly, we were now right in the vicinity but in no fit state to go up 4095 metres of active volcano. Quite apart from the trauma of the past few days, Sam’s food-poisoning-type issues were still lingering and Cat couldn’t even put a boot over her foot, let alone walk in it. Reluctantly, we agreed that the only sensible thing to do would be to head towards Yaoundé, where we could get Sam fixed once and for all, acquire some Gabonese visas and see if Cat’s genuinely rather minor but really very irritating wound would heal in time to go back to the mountain before our time was up.

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Nothing alarming, just mildly irritating now

Having made our plan, the only stumbling block that remained was our bill at the hotel, which mysteriously came out at almost twice what we owed. If the seemingly so genuine manager had had the right change, we may have been out the door before we’d noticed, but he was doing his best to pocket another CFA 5,000 on top and this gave us time to do the maths. When pulled up on it he soon conceded that there’d been a ‘mistake’ but even then we had to sort the change out ourselves. We gave him more than we owed, as a deposit of sorts, and went into town to break some notes. We eventually managed this and a short internet stop too, but when all hell broke loose outside (big crowd around neighbouring police station and a bloke crying somewhere in the middle), we made a brisk exit.

Back at the hotel, the place was wide open but deserted. The not-so-genuine manager was clearly hiding from us in the hope we’d give up on the change, but with the help of a random passer-by (added bonus of distracting him from hassling Sam) Cat weeded him out and settled up as accurately as possibly. Incredibly, the guy still asked for a tip!

We couldn’t be doing with the scrap yard now so just got ourselves out of town, on the road to Yaoundé. We had no intention of making it that far that day and after driving straight through Douala we would have gladly called it a day, but we passed nothing that appealed and had tentatively high hopes for the place we were aiming for in Yaoundé, so we stopped for a sandwich and a brew and ploughed on.

Checkpoint of the day would have to be the policeman who approached almost laughing at our right-hand drive. He was clearly not going to make a serious issue out of that, but then the car’s not his domain. He’s the one who checks the passports, which he did, seemingly thoroughly. It was only as we were driving off that Sam pointed out he’d inspected our Nigerian visas, not the Cameroonian ones.

We arrived in Yaoundé without any of the usual big-city craziness on the road and found our guesthouse on the hill. At first sight it was perfect – friendly, genuinely genuine owner, massive, tree-filled garden, in a quiet part of town but with a nice looking bar, a great looking internet café, various potential eateries and a proper-looking clinic all within two minutes’ walk. This would do just nicely!

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