Today is my final full day in Buea, I fly back to the UK at 5.30am tomorrow morning from Douala Airport. I am left in the hotel complex for the morning. Whilst Buea is relatively safe there has been a killing in the town during my stay. The authorities are unclear if this was a terrorist attack or gang related. Terrorist groups Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) are active in many parts of the country, but mainly in the north region. The opposition Cameroon Renaissance Movement, hold protests in Yaounde and Douala and in July a IED was detonated in the main market in Yaounde. Since my arrival security and my welfare has been the PCC main concern. The PCC offices are not that far away but still unsafe for me to walk, the hotel is in a gated compound. Since my arrival several other “White” Europeans have been here, UNCEF, WHO and other NGO’s. As the only “white” I standout in the crowd as we have visited places, however we have not been stopped at the various police and army checkpoints along the roads we have travelled, and I have never been concerned about my safety.
The morning view from my hotel window. Most of the cooking is done outside, this is the hotels kitchen with BBQ
Check out time is 12noon but I’m not collected until 1.30pm – Susan and Yobet my driver has done a great job looking after me.
We drive in Buea, traffic is busy, school children are returning home. School normally starts at 7.30am, and a staggered finishing time depending on your age.
We drive to Douala along some of the back routes to avoid traffic aiming to arrive early evening, conversations follow about whether I should be dropped at the Airport very early, or have Dinner or stay at a “safe” hotel and be taken to the airport in a hotel car. We decide to go for the latter, this enables Susan and Yobet to return in the relative safety of late evening rather than in the early hours of Thursday morning.
A roadside stall selling fuel (Petrol etc) – which is sold by the bottle and poured into car petrol tanks by a home made funnel – a bit of hosepipe and a plastic squash bottle.
Street food is available everywhere – corn on the cob or chicken strips on skewers amonst other things. You typically see old car wheels being used as makeshift BBQ. Puff puff – are fluffy fried doughnuts and very tasty! – although not to eaten from street vendors.
A final stop to purchase a traditional handmade African tunic. (photo of me wearing it has been censored!)
Early evening we arrive in Douala, I check in and we have a final meal together before saying our farewells. The room has aircon which is fortunate as the temperature is well in to 33c even though it night time. The hotel taxi will collect me at 2.30am to take me to the airport about 10 minutes away. It was a good decision as I can take a shower, have some rest before the morning.
Tomorrow is going to be a long day!
The hotel reception ring through to say that they are ready to take me to the airport, UK here I come
Day 8 – Thursday 24th November
3am Arrive at the airport, scarcely anyone around, but manage to find my way to the boarding gate and wait for my flight to be called at 5.30am.
A short stop in Casablanca, before flying into heathrow and catching the coach and train back to Banbury. So Whats your story……..?