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2nd Nov 12’ Bamenda, Cameroon

November 2, 2012

0 miles

At the hotel, I learn the two white men who left the morning I arrived are now only one day ahead and have diverted up in to the mountains to see the wildlife. I suspect they have a month visa as I should have been given. I predict I may overtake them whilst there in the mountains. Whilst crossing the Nigerian border I noticed one of their names, Bruce Beattie who I kind of know, coincidentally. Bruce contacted me through HU some months ago once he learned we had a similar route planned. Not too sure what happened but communication was lost for some reason. Bruce if you’re reading this, I’m closing on you! Maybe we can meet in Gabon, Congo or Angola sometime over the next three weeks. Leave me a message via this site if you fancy meeting up and comparing routes. At every border post and hotel, the staff and officials tell me you are just ahead and amusingly presume we are part of the same group because we are white.

After yesterday’s challenging ride I need to recuperate as well as applying for a visa extension for Cameroon otherwise I will be overstaying my welcome by the middle of next week. At the border to Cameroon the officials informed Bamenda is the place to do this which surprises me as I thought best to apply in Yaoundé. This morning I take an overpriced taxi to the customs office to submit my extension application. It was there, unfortunately and a great disappointment, I am advised it has to be processed in Yaoundé. Now its weekend, this could potentially put me days behind schedule as the consulates are now closed. The customs officer explains they only issue exit visas which are valid for one week. I explain this is ok, because at least it will give me 3 extra days which is all I should require before entering Gabon. This is an unusual request as most visa applications are issued via Yaoundé so I’m very lucky just to get the exit visa, however to do this I have to be interviewed by the Police Commissioner where I explain the problems my week only Cameroon visa has caused. I tell him my previous route; he is amazed and gladly approves the visa exit at a cost of 51,000 Cameroon CFA.

The view from the Azam hotel is stunning and overlooks the Cameroon jungle and is in fact just on the edge. They serve excellent food and a room is reasonably priced at 30,000 Cameroon CFA per night. Their CFA is independent to previous countries CFA which is confusing.

Here I take the opportunity to have some laundry done and kindly ask the porter to wash the cement like mud from my bike.

When I returned from the customs office, the bikes is gleaming and wonder how he managed this. He and I are extremely pleased with his work so reward him well.

Whilst I wait for my visa to be processed I return to the hotel and research my next route through Gabon and Congo. My current plans are to apply for my Gabon and Congo visa in Yaoundé over Monday to Wednesday next week then continue my journey in to them countries with Pointe Noire Port in Congo being my destination. From there I plan to ship my motorcycle and me, if possible, in to the DRC or Angola, which may mean a few days at sea which is a shame considering the cost of my DRC visa obtained in the KFC car park in Wembley, London. I just cannot mentally or physically face more roads similar to that from Nigeria to Mamfe, Cameroon.

I would prefer to explore Cameroon more but my temporary visa will not allow this which is absurd considering their marketing efforts in tourism.

To prevent me from being over charged a second time by a greedy taxi driver, this time the hotel manager accompanies me back to the customs office now for the third time. Instead of ordering a taxi we hail one down at the bottom of the scenic hotel drive. The manager agrees a price so we climb in the taxi. Two hundred yards down the road, another passenger joins us. A hundred yards further, a third, a fourth then a fifth now totalling six people including the driver, two in the passenger seat, the driver and three in the rear. The taxi buckled and swerved as we travelled along the bumpy road. The chassis was obviously snapped as the back end sometimes looked as if it would overtake the front. The taxi stopped where I presumed we would be dropping a passenger off but to my astonishment the boot opened and in climbed three more people now totalling nine people in the size of a fiesta size car. I grinned; this is what I had come ton Arica to experience.

Back at the hotel my laundry is delivered; however, there is a problem. My emergency wallet is missing from my jacket pocket. It’s partly my fault for leaving it in there in the first place but still annoyed it is missing or been taken. Luckily it only consisted of some expired credit cards and a hundred Euros. This was to be used in case of a hold up where I could offer this substitute wallet in return for my life. The hotel Manager helped me search for my wallet but could not gain access to the launderette. Tomorrow, the search will continue I guarantee that.