Day 110: Copped again!
John & Jenny
Wed 23 Feb 2011 13:07
Day 110: Tuesday 22 February 2011. Hostellerie de la Sanaga, Edea, Cameroon. N03 48.430 E010 07.231 Distance driven 194 km
[I realise that I made a mistake in reporting yesterday's position latitude in Yaounde. It should have been N03 52.788 and NOT N03 34.788]
After an altercation with Frenchie over access to the toilets, and a tear-raising outpouring from Madame after Jenny had photographed the disgusting facilities, we departed the Presbyterian Mission and stocked up at the Casino supermarket. We then re-packed the car, visited the fabulous patisserie near the Mission and left for Kribi.
Retracing our track through town we went back to the enormous roundabout in the centre of town, which had been totally engulfed in traffic when we arrived last night. There is a complete absence of any form of road sign in Yaounde and on getting part way around the roundabout we noticed a two-way 4-lane road through the middle of it, leading the way we wanted to go, and followed a couple of taxis. We were immediately intercepted and stopped by armed gendarmes, then handed over to a traffic policewoman who took my licence and directed us to park at a nearby police post. On entering the police post we were welcomed by a very friendly officer and noticed another one stepping into his trousers - quite why he had had them off was not apparent but on one of the benches two police officers, male and female, were entwined with one another! Quite a bizarre scene.
We adopted our usual stance in these circumstances by professing not to understand a word of French. The young guy, who now had his trousers on, jovially introduced himself as the English speaking officer and declared himself an Anglophile. So far, so good. We were told that we had driven down the private road of the President, through the centre of the traffic island, and the penalty was impoundment of the vehicle. We explained that due to their total absence of road signs, we were lost and had just followed a couple of local taxis, who were not stopped, so why were we? We also said that they couldn't impound our car because it was also our home and we had nowhere else to stay! We then had a very good-humoured discussion which ended by being told that we were free to go but it was customary in these circumstances to give the police a token gift! We presented them with a bottle of rum, just purchased that morning for about £4, and drove away the best of friends!
We retraced our route back towards Douala with the intention of driving the 300 km to Kribi but what with delays in the patisserie, the cops, several accidents and a succession of slow-moving logging trucks on the road, we made very slow progress and by 1630 had only reached Edea with another 150 km to Kribi so decided to stop for the night. With both of us feeling very damp and grubby after the previous night, we decided to treat ourselves to a night of luxury in a hotel. We then found a real hotel, one with bedding, linen sheets, towels, hot water and plumbing that worked, AC, TV and a balcony overlooking the river. What luxury! There was one final touch of Africa amid this unexpected luxury - a condom provided by the Management!
After thoroughly cleaning ourselves up we dined on steak in the restaurant and lay in bed watching the Arab world implode on French TV. Trouble in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen - where next? Saudi Arabia is very quiet, thankfully.
There has been more trouble in Nigeria and the Cote d'Ivoire is still in a mess and here in Cameroon there was to be a demonstration march in Doula tomorrow but it has been cancelled by the Government. I think we'll head on south and try to get away from it all.