Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Exploring the Cameroon Countryside

On Sunday, we decided to drive up to Limbe, about 2 hours away.  It was a rainy day, but we were ready to explore.  Taking a break from setting up the house is always a good thing, especially when a new country is waiting to be discovered.  

We had a few objectives for the day other than just getting out of the house.  

One, was to see the countryside of Cameroon.  
 If you squint a bit, it looks just like the tropics of Hawaii. 

We passed MANY banana plantations...



And rubber tree plantations.
But the REAL objective (for one of us anyway) ...
was to see the Tiko Likomba Golf Course. :)   
He wanted to see the distance from our house (90 minutes away)
and to see the condition of the course and the greens.  
There were many houses built on the course 
and caddies chased down our car looking for work.   
His deduction was that he probably won't play every weekend.  :)  

Golf is not a major sport in Cameroon.  
On record, there are TWO golf courses in the entire country; Tiko and one in Yaoude', the capital city.  

The terrain is more mountainous outside of Douala.  
You can see the palm trees lined up in the distance which will produce palm oil.  
This is a good view of the tropics in the rainy season.   Douala is located 4 degrees north of the 
equator.  So far, it has rained every single day since I arrived.   Our area averages just 
over 140 inches of rain per year and August is supposed to be the wettest month of all.  

The pictures are all poor quality, but you are viewing exactly what we
 saw since they are also untouched.  :)  It's an authentic view of Cameroon!  
We had heard about the black sand beaches in the area, so we made a small 
'donation' to enter the Hotel Seme Beach Resort.  Even though the grounds 
are 'weathered' and a bit dated,  it is supposed to be the nicest resort around.    
The sand is definitely very BLACK.
There were many people swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and
 enjoying the black sand beaches, even in the misty rain. 
I think this is a natural lazy river.  
There was an old open-air restaurant on site.  Fortunately, we weren't hungry. :) 
We found something that Nigeria doesn't have - refineries! 

We saw a few drilling rigs right off shore - not working. 


When I asked our driver about these boats with flags of various countries, he  
explained that these are smuggler's boats.  They smuggle food stuffs INTO Nigeria 
and then smuggle the subsidized gas back INTO Cameroon.   It seems to be general 
knowledge to where the smugglers boats are located, which I just find amazing.  

As we drove back into Douala, the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful day.  

Here's the path to take us home...

It tends to be dusty even in the rainy season.  I would imagine this will 
be even more of an issue in the dry season (November to March).  
    
Anything motorized can be used for bon transportation.   
Can you see the red flowered couches nestled together on top of the yellow car?  
Yes, we were facing 'head-on' in this traffic.  Typically, we just swerve back and forth into the lane which will get us where we need to go.   I am taking the picture from the back seat of the car! 

There are MANY motorcycles on the roads and it is a cheap way to get around.  
In fact, the motorcycles are the most common form of public transportation
 in Douala, since they are used as informal taxis.  


The bikes are called "Bentsikins" - which is Pidgin English for the need to 'bend your skin' to get on the bike, especially when there are two, three, or five passengers who ride along with you. 
This is one of the rare riders we see with a helmet. 

During the rainy season, the "bentsikins" moto-taxis have a long umbrella mounted 
on the bike and a front shield for protection from the elements.  I'll have to get a 
side picture of the umbrellas as they are shaped like a baseball hat.    

We passed the port of Douala, which is actually on the Wouri River, 
which connects to the Atlantic Ocean.   Charles works over to the left side of this picture. 
His offices are behind the plant that you see here.  He works only 10-15 minutes from home 
with no traffic.   Normally it takes him about 15 minutes to get to work and 60-90 minutes to get home in the evenings, due to the bottleneck getting out of the port area.  However tonight, it took 
over 3 hours for him to get home - which is the third time in the last week for an extra long commute.   When they get the new bridge finished, it should be much quicker.  At this point, they estimate it will take another 2 years - and not surprisingly, they are currently on strike.  
Typical traffic - and this was on a Sunday afternoon. 
 The roads are also terrible.   Can you see the potholes? 
Coming into our neighborhood - or close by...

I am amazed at the size of these trees.  Timber is a major export of Cameroon. 
I'm not sure that I trust the three ropes that are holding these monsters on the truck! 
Coming down the street, our house is on the right.   
After a fun day, we are back at our Home-Sweet-Cameroonian-Home.  

1 comment:

Charles said...

Pretty cool post Mom! I'm looking forward to visiting :)