CAMEROON 30/11 - 01/12
The day after we had climbed Mt. Cameroon we felt exhausted in every aspect. Black nails, bleeding toes, sun burns, herpes. As if the long horizontal journey we set out to complete was not enough, we had added to it a long vertical journey. We logged online to check out the status for our delivery, made some calls to DHL Douala and then the customs in the airport to finally clear confusion - as DHL had registered 2 different parcels with the same tracking no. and we were told ours had been delivered to Oslo, Norway. Our parcel was indeed in Douala so we had to organize our trip from Mile 11 to the airport as fast as possible. Luckily a Cameroonian lady stopped by, curious to know about the strangers who were camping in the parking and eager to have some company while waiting for the husband. It proved that the man was attending a meeting nearby and that they lived in Douala, so we asked if they could give us a lift. It was a lovely "hitchhiking" experience, followed by a taxi ride to the miserable place that is DHL customs office, a place of corruption and deceit. We left that place with a lot less money in our pockets ("taxes and duties"), but with our parcel in hand.
Inside the taxi, I torn the paperbox apart: it was the right clutch! We were saved!
We asked the driver to take us to the bus station, we got tickets for the next bus to Yaounde and spend the 2 hours to departure munching on brochettes, fried plantain and fruits.
In the background: us, shabby backpackers in Africa, but with a hope to become overlanders again.
Of course none of the clocks in the station or inside the buses didn't work properly. We have the feeling of being outside any known time or space.
Two parcels: one shipped by FedEx + UPS from the UK, one shipped by DHL from Germany, 3 weeks, plenty of white hairs, a lot of cash and 3 small bags of Haribo bears = new clutch
Deja vu: the second attempt to fix the clutch; this time the place is empty of people, we are alone in a Moebius-like space, with all our hopes and dreams at stake once again
Once again we spread onto the cover all our belongings
A tasty breakfast to fuel our efforts
I manage to get my work done fairly quickly. The hundreds of kilometers of being towed on sloppy roads took a heavy toll on the brake pads, so I have to change those aswell.
It is hard to put into words how we felt when I turned the key in and the engine came back to life. When we knew we were free again to pursue our journey, our dream. We deeply thank our parents, who supported us, Harry, who almost single handily saved us, the Vidals, for offering us a hand and their lovely company during a difficult time of despair and uncertainties.
Even if it's not always hot and sunny in Africa, we are reminded by many improbable Christmas decorations that the winter holidays frenzy is approaching.
The authentic genius loci can only be found again in a delicious plate of beef suya and grilled plantain.
Sun is shining and we are enjoying our last Cameroonian meal. The customs officers didn't even realize our Laissez-Passer was long overdue. Is this a sign that our troubles are over?