Today is a good day as I am able to finally submit my Gabon visa application after my mix up of days over the weekend.
I take breakfast in the hotel which is included and consists of Pain du chocolate, bread, butter jam and coffee with milk which is perfect and all I require.
The Gabonese embassy is my first stop which is just around the corner form the hotel here in Yaounde. On the way I see the lads I eventually caught up with last night and they tell me there off to a Gorilla sanctuary this afternoon then on to Gabon for a few days where I hope to catch up with them once again in preparation to tackle the notorious Congo jungle roads.
At the embassy, I filled out the simple application form, attached one passport size photo, paid 70,000 Cameroon CFA (106 Euros) and told to come back in the morning. I try my luck and ask for it to be processed today, the lady insists it will take twenty four hours which is still quick really.
With the assistance of the Hotel assistant who doubles up as a pimp in the evening, I take a taxi to a nearby Insurance broker on the advice of the lads I met yesterday/. I only realised yesterday, but my insurance had expired since entering Cameroon as it did not cover Central African countries. The lady at the insurance broker issued the certificate for 55,000 Cameroon CFA (83 Euros) which covers me for Gabon, Congo, DRC and other Central African countries. The insurance is valid for a year and covers both the bike and I third party only. I am told Twelve months cover is the minimum and the lady advises cover for I is mandatory. The advice given falls in line with what the lads told me last night.
Still with the hotel assistant, we continue to the cash machine to withdraw more money, again. This trip really is proving expensive and I question the ability of traveller’s who manage to travel on a shoe string budget of only £20 per day. No matter how tight your budget, I feel this impossible considering the cost of fuel and visa applications.
Again, in preparation to attempt them Congo roads, I try to lighten the load my motorcycle is carrying and decide to ditch the majority of my camping equipment apart from my tent which I may need in case of emergencies. I take the excess baggage to the nearby DHL and send to my home address in the uk. I knew it would be expensive but considering the value if my sleeping bag and spare motorcycle trousers I feel them worthy to be returned rather than be thrown away as others do to avoid the costly carriage. The cost initially totalled 400 Euros until I bartered and flirted with the clerk, to which she offered a discount of over a 100 Euros, am I really that good looking?!
On the way back to the hotel, I buy a local sim card on the advice of the South African chaps and place it in my spare phone. Unfortunately, the batteries dead and it won’t charge. I take the phone to a repair shop, which consisted of only a bench by the road side run by a young man brandishing a soldering iron and a bag of spares. He tested the phone and immediately diagnosed the fault. The man intrinsically takes apart the phone, replaces the charging socket and the phone is fixed within one hour, all for the only £3.
From there, it was back to the hotel where I skype Kerry then catch up on some much needed sleep. I wake up feeling revitalised and very happy of the lengthily conversation with my wife, although blurred. Messages and communication really does help the home sickness.
In the hotel restaurant, I order chocolate ice cream with a plate of pineapple followed by tea with milk which is a rarity in West Africa.
Tomorrow, I hope to collect my Gabon visa the immediately off to the Congolese Embassy to apply for that visa.
Time in Cameroon is going slow and I’m really feeling the urge to climb aboard my motorcycle now, which I still haven’t named, suggestions please?
I appreciate some travellers priority is to spend time in different countries and explore the areas by foot, though I have to admit, mine is riding my bike and anything I see or experience along the way is a bonus.