Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Yaoundé

Yaoundé is the nation's capital and lies approximately 140 miles east of Douala.  


The road from Douala to Yaoundé is a two lane, rural road known for its many accidents.  
The volume of traffic, the trucks and the winding turns make it dangerous.   


Getting out of Douala can also be a challenge.  
It took us over an hour to go the first 15 miles.  


The journey is sometimes more interesting than the destination - especially in Africa.  


Palm oil, a type of edible vegetable oil mainly used for frying and for 
cooking beans,  is sold by the side of the road all over West/Central Africa.   
The red oil comes from the palm fruit of the African oil palm 
tree and is very high in saturated fat.  

Roadside cafe - Cameroonian style.     


Traffic continued normally while this truck was on fire.  We could feel the 
heat inside of our car while we passed.  Abandoned and wrecked vehicles tend 
to be left by the side of the road - and then burned by "officials" to get rid of them. 


We assume that this one will be set on fire next.  

 This car in front of us has a LIVE goat on top strapped down.  
I suppose they want the meat to be fresh when they arrive.  
Notice the oncoming car has a CASKET strapped to the roof.  
You just can't make this stuff up! 

There were scenic parts of the countryside too.  

As we passed this area, we saw freshly killed grasscutter (similar to a super-sized rat) hanging by the road.  We also saw smoke in the distance.  Our driver explained 
that they were setting fires to run out animals in the bush to catch them easily. 
 Bush meat is very popular here and includes monkeys, snakes, grass cutters, rats - 
and everything else that might live in the bush.  When they catch it, they just hang
 it on a pole by the road and  someone will buy in within a short time.  A few 
minutes later, we saw an ENORMOUS fish hanging by the side of the road too.  
I guess if you stop, someone will happily sell it to you.  
Drive by, bush meat - at your service!     

Each little village along the way had a person collecting a "toll" to drive on the road.  
There were also LOTS of vendors selling wares as the cars slowed down.  I wanted to 
get a close-up view of the ladies selling bobolo, but this was the best one I had.  Bobolo is 
mashed up cassava steamed in cassava leaves and tied in a string.  It is usually eaten with fish.   The people behind them are sitting in an outdoor restaurant.  

Firewood can also be purchased easily.  

 Baskets grow on trees in some villages.   :) 
Bananas are sold right off the branch. 

 One of the rivers we crossed on the way showed the diversity of the landscape.

As we came into Yaoundé, it seemed to be dramatically different from Douala.  
The streets are well paved in Yaoundé and more crowded, yet its chaos seems more 
organized then Douala.  Yaoundé is greener and spread out on a plateau over seven hills, 
which surround the city.   It is also cleaner and boasts many 1970 style buildings, 
giving it an unkempt, dated appearance.   
  The motorcyclist is wearing a hard hat - backwards - as his helmet, and this is not uncommon to see.  Notice the oncoming bentiskin (motorcycle taxi) 
has a military man as his passenger.  
The wiring always makes me stare in wonder. 
There's such colorful activity on these African roads.  
I might mention that it is HOT here - and we are in the dry (hot) season in Cameroon. 
 Even though Yaoundé is less humid and a tad bit cooler than Douala, it is 
still in the mid to upper 80s.   I am always amazed when I see motorcycle 
drivers wearing long sleeve jackets and wool caps.  We were sweating!  
We also noticed that the traffic overall in the capitol city is MUCH worse than Douala.  

We sat in this traffic for a LONG time trying to get to our hotel.  

We stayed at the Hilton in Yaoundé, which was very comfortable.  
 I'm not sure that this particular bronze statue made us feel very
 welcome.  Possibly a man waving a machete with a head on a stick is 
not the warm, fuzzy feeling that I expected from the Hilton Hotels. 
 However, our room was spacious and clean,  and it is the nicest 
place we have stayed at in all of West -Central Africa so far.  

Driving around Yaounde brought typical scenes we have seen in other areas.  
However it still amazes me at the electrical lines.  I think that many of the little 
shops just add a cable to the main line and connect it directly.   
This is the original world wide web. :) 
Even with sand and rocks, you still have to make a living.  

Throughout Cameroon (and other places in this area of the world), mattresses 
and furniture pieces are sold by the side of the road - rain OR shine.  

We passed many colorful, busy markets in Yaoundé. 

It seems like women wear more traditional dress here than in Douala too.  

The green hills of Yaoundé were really different than the flat landscape of Douala. 
 It was a nice change for us and we had a wonderful visit to the capitol city.


Just in case we wanted to take the train, it runs daily between Douala and Yaoundé.  
We also enjoyed a wonderful diner at a unique restaurant called Cafe de Yaoundé.  
It was open to the outdoors with levels of gardens and a variety of seating.  
We enjoyed the dinner with friends in the wonderful ambiance of this eclectic cafe. 
 It was a nice ending to a fun weekend in the capital city of Cameroon.  

No comments: