Thursday, September 25, 2008

Have I got a travel story for you...

Prologue: Sometimes things go so badly, you actually question whether or not there is a God. Then sometimes things go so badly that your faith in God's existence is reaffirmed; you know that there's a God because he must have been up all night planning how he was going to *&%$ all over my day. I travelled from my post to the capital city of Yaounde today. Upon leaving, I texted a friend who's been here a year asking how long the trip would be. She said it should take 3 hours at the shortest and 5 at the longest. After reading this post, you can guess for yourself how long it took me to get there.

We left Mbouda, a large town near me at 12PM. We made excellent time driving to Bafoussam, arriving in just under an hour. I remember enjoying that hour thoroughly. I had enough room where I could actually lie down in my seat. It was noon, and the whole day was ahead of me. Life was good.

One could think of this trip as BB and AB. Before Bafoussam and After Bafoussam. Before Bafoussam, I was a happy young man with a bright future and faith in mankind. After Bafoussam I was a angry goblin whose fury made him small and callous.

After arriving in Bafoussam, we sat in the Agency parking lot waiting for more passengers for two and a half hours. We were full after an hour and a half, the last hour was spent searching for our driver, who had disappeared into a nearby bar. I'm not even going to get into that. So after making great time for the first hour, the entire day was shot. I already knew I'd be arriving after dark, which was a bit of a pain in the ass itself, because Yaounde is not a very safe city.

After driving for about an hour, I feel like someone is trying to reach in and take my wallet. I smack the hand away of an 10 year old boy who looks at me guiltily, and tell his father what he was doing. He smacked his boy so hard across the face that I genuinely felt bad for telling on him. All those feelings of remorse quickly disappeared after I felt him digging for it again 20 minutes later. This time I looked away as his father went to town on him.

Roughly 12 to 13 hours later (I kind of lost count) I was able to check off one of the things on my "Do before you leave Africa" list. I saw a monkey! Four monkeys actually! We were pulled up at a control station (one of the 50 stops we made) and four monkeys were pressed up against my window! Four dead monkeys. Dead. There was a man holding four dead monkeys. Trying to sell them to me and the other passengers. To eat. They were totally in tact, not skinned or anything. Very fresh. Probably only clubbed to death minutes earlier. I just kind of sat there stupidly with my mouth open while he tried to peddle his wares. For a moment there, I was worried that I wouldn't get a good look at these, the first monkeys I've seen in Africa. Lucky for me, though, the woman next to me decided she'd like nothing more than braised chimp for dinner and bought one. So I spent the next 30 hours with curious george staring at me with dead eyes. There are some things you can't unsee.

All in all, the trip actually took around 9 hours. That's 280 KM travelled in 9 hours. I once drove from Chapel Hill to Long Island (530 miles) in eight hours. I can't express to you the frustration that this trip caused me. I had to wait about 4 hours before writing this post up, because if I had written it immediately on arrival, I probably would have typed it with my forehead and then put my foot through the motherboard.

I'm safe and sound in Yaounde now, and I've taken a nice hot shower. Tomorrow I'm going to watch a The Dark Knight bootleg (thanks mom and dad!) and I'll redo this whole catastrophe and head home on Saturday morning. Stay classy.

1 comment:

dabjrb said...

He is just keeping you on your toes!
The monkey story freaks me out. It is hard to believe they eat the monkeys, please don't ever!!!!!!!
I am so happy you recieved the package I sent you. Halloween candy!
I know nothing about a bootleg.
Be careful traveling back and enjoy the hot showers while they last.
We are heading to Delaware now, call Dad's cell if you need us.

Love Mom