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6th Nov 12’ Two Visas in 24 hrs Yaounde, Cameroon

November 6, 2012

A productive day. I returned to the Gabon embassy where I am questioned as to my mode of transport. To the Ambassadors surprise I tell them by motorcycle which always earns me respect in the consulates. I am also asked if I have booked accommodation, I tell him I haven’t but here is my planned accommodation. The Ambassador looks objectively at me and says this could be a problem but let me see what I can do. After two hours of waiting in the reception, whilst the taxi meter is running, the lady receptionist returns and hands me my passport. I thank her profusely and leave quickly but on inspection of the visa stamp I find it’s hardly recognisable and just hope entry is permitted in to the beautiful Gabon I have heard so many great things about.

From, there, it’s straight to the Republic of Congo embassy using the taxi which bis only a hundred yards around the corner. I complete the application form, hand over my two passport photographs and pay the Ambassador his 60,000 CFA (approx. 80 Euro) for a same day express service. He tells me to wait but his lady receptionist objects and tells him “that’s too quick, you must ask him to return later in the day at 1400”.

Whilst I’m waiting I ask the taxi driver to drop me in the city centre to join the celebration of thirty years of Paul Bio’s presidency in Cameroon. Outside the Hotel de Ville, a hundred gazebos surrounded the square with hundreds of seats and being taken by the people of Yaounde all dressed in the same clothing picturing the President himself. Walking through the crowds I attracted attention and heard constant whispers of “white man”, not surprising considering I was the only white out of thousands of blacks. Still, I enjoyed the show where different cultures from different areas of Cameroon showed off there territorial dress and danced wildly to the beating of drums which appeared to be made from hollowed out palm trees and animal skin, sounding similar to bongo drums you hear in the Tarzan movies. It was great fun but after taking a few unwanted photos I brought attention to myself and felt I had over stayed my welcome. I escaped a crowd of young men by jumping in a taxi James Bond style and telling him to “go, go, go”.

I returned to the Republic of Congo embassy and collected my approved visa which is valid for a month. I have now successfully obtained all the necessary visas to complete this epic journey and it deserves a celebration, so I return the hotel and drink tea with milk from the restaurant balcony.

I consider leaving Yaounde today and catching the two South Africa chaps up but decide it more sensible to leave early in the morning.

Still on the balcony, I watch a huge locus attracted by the florescent light hover above the head of a huge local occasionally dive bombing him and each time getting closer and closer until eventually colliding with the back of his head. He turns sharply and stares at me suspiciously presuming I had thrown something at him. I freeze trying not to break out in fits of laughter. I point to the locus now lying stunned on the floor and shrug my shoulders; though he still isn’t convinced it wasn’t me. I leave before I laugh.

Entering the lift back up to my room, the door begins to close quickly so I dart in thinking I can make it. I don’t and become trapped, not in the lift but between the sliding door and its frame. I try to prise the door open, but it won’t budge. My face is sideways facing towards the inside of the lift and my body pinned to the frame. This lift obviously doesn’t have a sensing mechanism where the door normally reopens in such occurrences. By now, I’m glowing red which is evident from my reflection in the lift mirror. I embarrassingly shout to the receptionist for help, to which she calls security, who called the porter, who called the Manager. I’m just glad I couldn’t see the gathering crowd. They decide to call the maintenance man who had to switch the power off to the lift so I could free myself. I then climb the stairs and take an early night in preparation for an early ride in to GABON!