Not feeling big on words at the moment, fortunately a picture is worth a thousand and I’ve got plenty.
Part I: Bamenda
Bamenda, regional capital of the Northwest and the location of our Inter-Service Training (IST). Nicknamed Bamerica for its abundance of American food such as Skippy peanut butter, Fig Bars, Nature Valley bars and Trix.
Highlights (in no particular order) include:
-One and a half weeks in a nice hotel with hot water showers
-Seeing my stage
-Presenting our posts with our counterparts
-Helping Hands-the closest thing to a Jimmy John’s
-PresCafé-a café where one can enjoy good coffee, smoothies and carrot cake
-Buying absurds amount of pagne (pictures of clothes to come in the following months)
-Dominating Milles Bornes as a part of the Dream Team (wonderful game that everyone should learn)
-Learning how to “Milk the Cow” in Euker (spelling?)
Part II: Buea, Mt. Cameroon and Phoebe and the Wet Dreams
A grand milestone for IST is that one is allowed to travel (after three months at post) so, logically, many of us arranged to go on vacation. My particular group decided to conquer Mt. Cameroon, the tallest mountain in West Africa.
The day before our quest we had a meeting with our guides to discuss our trip and any concerns we might have about the mountain. During this meeting, Hilary mentioned that the mountain was a volcano and may erupt, but only during the night. However, we were not to be concerned as this was natural, just like the “cycles females have” and what happens to men at night when they get excited. After a confused silence we all burst out laughing realizing he was referring to wet dreams. Ergo, we decided to name our team the Wet Dreams, when Phoebe objected we changed to Phoebe and the Wet Dreams. (One day we may actually make it as a cover band with babushka back-up singers that sings only wet dream-inspired renditions of songs such as Sandman.)
But I digress. The first day we headed up the mountain we were delayed four hours in the Midway Hut by the rain. Upon learning that we would have to return to Hut 1 for the night, only to summit and return again the second day, we decided to call it and just head down. Of course, the mountain was not empty due the rain and so we, the nine of us, spent the night in a 12′ x 12′ room while forty scouts (the Cameroonian version of boy scouts) camped in the other room. We eventually fell asleep to the sounds of a porter singing Drake’s Hotline Bling and were awakened at 4:30 to the Scouts singing in preparation for their hike down. Needless to say, no one slept much.
Although the mountain has yet to be summited, I did take a few pictures before the rain crushed our spirit.
Part III: The Beach
So being rained out and all, the only sensible thing to do (we wouldn’t want to waste our precious vacation days now would we) was to head to Limbe, known for its black sand beaches. And with such late notice, we could only find rooms at the nicest resort in town with a private beach (life is really difficult at times). It also featured Babyfoot Humain (don’t ask, still no clue what this is), horses and peacocks.
And as every good vacation should end, the majority of us are now broke having dropped some serious CFA on burgers and mojitos, so it is probably for the best that we are all headed back to village where we will not be tempted by Western food and drinks and can save some money for the next adventure.