Tuesday, March 3, 2015

i cameroun to cameroun

i was invited back to cameroon exactly a year after my first visit. i quickly obtained a visa, reconnected with all the old yaoundé peeps and boarded by air brussels flight on a brisk summer morning in berlin. halfway to belgium, the stewardess who is taking orders for cold easyjet style sandwiches comes over and says "i see you are connecting to cameroon, we'd like to offer you a complimentary drink!" which was welcome, but her tone slightly inflected with pity, was also kinda wierd, innit? 
upon boarding in brussels i noticed my seat was next to some gentleman who locked eyes with me and was luridly patting the space next to him and i oh so smoooothly took an aisle seat a few rows over. a few hours later he sat across from me and even though i twirled my fake wedding ring in my fingers and pointed to my earphones mouthing "i can't hear you" he stared at me like an awkward baby before giving me all 4 of his phone numbers, along with his chicken entree. he grabbed my arm forcefully saying "eat it! eat it! seeing  eat makes me happy!" until i had a steward intervene, as our gentleman's cognac breath reached flammable levels. does this happen to anyone else? during the remaining bumpy ride over the sahara i traded my usual airborne film criteria from "anything with ryan gosling" to "space movies" because i have realized, there's nothing better than actually feeling like you are going through a wormhole with mathew mconaghey. it's the fifth dimension.
in yaoundé (thankfully the first of three stops this plane would be making) i eased through a sortof phone booth with no doors, the sides decorated with cartoons of people puking blood and having ebola. ebola screening! a guy ten feet away held a sort of radar gun like a cop, peered into the screen for a few seconds and gave each individual a thumbs up. i thankfully didn't seen anyone get a thumbs down. i, having also watched a madonna video struck a vogue pose and got double thumbs up. ebola free! for now.
my taxi driver greeted me with a huge sign with my name and hand drawn panda on it, far more appropriate for anti kremlin political demo. he brought us to his yellow corolla with "le saint" sprawled across the back windshield, muppet fur seats which are delightful in 30 degree weather and working front AND back lights! at the exit for the parking lot i was delighted to see that it's the same price from 0-4 hours: 500 francs. my taxi man pleads for a discount with the tollman taking his hands, my brother, my brother...his brother picks the giant sign, which had been forgotten on the roof - ok, i'll take this he says! 
no, no, not the sign!

the guy jams it awkwardly through the window and we peel away as it scrapes my face and blocks my view for the next 20 minutes as i try to maneuver the thing over my head, through the seatbelt...argh! i finally get around to opening my window and breathing in the hot air fresh with smoky forest fires...loud distorted club music and mopeds...yaoundé here i am!

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