April 26, 2007

Still around

Well I am not sure if anyone is actually still reading my blog, if you consider it has been a while since I have blogged.

Anyway, if anyone is still out there reading ... I am still around. Still working in Cape Town and things here are going fantastic. I have bought a house with Nicky and we will be moving in June 1!!

We signed the papers yesterday, Monday I go and pay transfer costs ... it makes me want to throw up at the amount of money one has to pay for transfer costs ... it still boggles my mind as to why???

Anyway, let me get on with work ... oh, before I forget, I might be going off to Algeria one of these days, might be in a month, 2 month or a years time but it is on the cards ... so I just might have more interesting things to talk about :)

You all be good now you hear :)

March 13, 2007

Goodbye, Farewell and a chance meeting

Well I am sad to say, but happy as well ... my time in Cameroon is over and done. I have been assigned to a new project which happens to be in Cape Town. I am doing a project at British American Tobacco ... yes, pretty strange working for a company that promotes smoking and I don't even smoke. But all in all this company is very nice, the staff here are fantastic and the people are always smiling.But there is still a chance that I might go back for one week or so but I am ignoring that fact :) it was fun, don't get me wrong but home is where the heart is and I am really happy to be home.Now this doesn't mean my posts will become null and void, I will still be on here updating and there is a chance of me doing a project in Kenya or Algeria or both so I just might have more to report on.I will say this, my last day in Cameroon was nice and at the airport I met this guy. He first approached me asking if I speak english and how can you not recognize an Aussie accent? My first thought was to ramble off in Afrikaans than to have to chat to the Aussie lad ... just joking, it was nice to actually chat to someone "similar" to a South African even though we all know that Aussies are a lesser breed of DNA ....Anyway, I am getting side tracked here, the guys name is Dean ... and we got to chatting. It so happens that this guy met some dude in Egypt or somewhere riding a bicycle and Dean thought that is such a cool idea and somehow ended up in Cape Town, although we can't blame him for coming to Cape Town but we can blame him for wanting to leave ... or wait, he is Australian, yes good thing he left or we would have lynched him hahaha ... Dean if you are reading this, I am kidding!! Seeerrrriouussss!!!Anyway, Good ol Dean promptly found himself in a Cash convertors and bought himself a mountain bike for $100 and started cycling. The story goes he decided to cycle through Africa and has been doing that for the last 3 years, but between you all and myself I think he was trying to cycle to Australia and when asked for directions .... 3 years later he was still trying to find his way home ...Sadly though as the story goes, Dean was in Cameroon somewhere heading towards Morocco when he was ambushed and shot sorry ... the day dream again ... how many of you have thought about shooting an Aussie? hahaha ...Ok, serious now ... Dean managed to get to some help and ended up in a hospital which was in grim conditions and some missionary hospital came and fetched him. They got him back to good health ... well walking very slowly health but the conditions were a lot better. An American heard that another American was shot and rushed over to see if he could help ... the running joke is when the American saw it was an Aussie he turned around and left but enough jokes, the American dude, cop, something or another saw to it that Dean was assisted to Douala airport and had assistance till he checked in.This is where we met, Cycling through Africa didn't help Dean much in understanding how airports in Africa work and what happens on the other side so I basically decided to help the guy out. I am still amazed at the idea of cycling through Africa for the last 3 years ... it would have taken him another 12 months to get to Morocco and that would have been the end of his trip. Anyway, I punted Dean on to bare his war wounds to the Kenya Airways staff so that he could get access into the Simba lounge which is luxury and I proceeded to use my lost luggage angle. This time that didn't work, no pass was going to be given to me. Thanks to Dean, he told them I am helping him out in the airport and they promptly gave me a pass to the Simba lounge as well ... Thanks mate.It was good chatting to Dean and meeting up with him and getting to know him (even if you are Australian) it was a pretty good end to my Cameroon trip. I am sorry his trip got cut short but I take my hat off to him.Now if Dean ever reads this, please note I haven't got the story in full ... so hopefully Dean, you can drop me a mail and tell me again your side of the story and I will make amends on here. If you want to put it all in your own words, I will retype it here for you.You do meet some strange and pretty cool people on these journeys ... makes me wonder what lies ahead on my next adventure ... till then ... you all be good now you hear ....

When last ....

Now when last did you see this? I fell asleep in front of the television and when I woke up .... well see for yourself ...

Squash Courts

Joy to the world, I found two places where I was able to go and play some rounds of squash. I even got to meet some awesome guys who managed to kick my butt every single time. I vow revenge, not sure when but revenge will be mine!!

Now the squash courts aren't the greatest, no airconditioning unless you open the door but that then it is like opening a restaurant to a crap load of mozzies.

Anyway ... The squash courts!!!

The entrance onto the courts

January 17, 2007

Energy Club

Ok, so while I was in Cameroon, I managed to go visit the gym, it is sad that they can't offer the best equipment and I felt like I was back in the 80's but I was able to use it no matter how outdated

The good ol AB Machine

Before the rowing machine was re-invented

Do any of you remember those ski machines?

In the beginning there was the step machine ....

The 80's weight training room

Akwa Palace

Ok, now some might say I am being a snob because I didn't like the original room, was it really that bad? Well here are a few pics of comparrison. In a matter of honesty, if Akwa hadn't made the mistake of putting me in the nice room first I wouldn't have known, I would have been miff but I would have stayed there thinking all the rooms are the same. But once I was in a nice room and then moved to a not nice room, that is when I was really unhappy!!

So without further blabber here are the comparison pics!!

Not so nice bedroom

Nice bedroom

So Nice I will show you twice :)

Crap Bathroom

Nice Bathroom

Crap Balcony

Nice Balcony

Nice cupboards in nice room

Nice Room had a safe, Crap room didn't

The view from the nice room, and the pool I would swim 40 laps a day in

The cupboards in the crap room

Why you should put on Sunblock

Well here I am, the idiot of the year award. I did some gardening work in South Africa over December. I spent between 4 to 5 hours in the sun, without a shirt and as you can guess, no sun block. I paid dearly for my stupidity. All I can say is I am very thankful for my private nurse that showed very little sympathy but did a damn good job at nursing me. Pity I never had a nurses outfit for her as well :)

Doesn't look like much besides the red back but if you look carefully you can see the small blisters

Well those small blisters became big blisters pretty quick, a few hours later but just the beginning

And still they got bigger, this is the last pic I will put up here as it just gets gross from here on :)

But I am glad to say I have learned my lesson well and the back is healed up nicely. Never again I tell you, I mean, I was a real big baby moaning and crying. All I know is there are certain people in my life that are just not going to let me live this one down.

Simba Lounge

Well here I was treated to the joys of sitting in the first class lounge at the Cameroon Airport. My boss had made friends with one of the staff members and kinda gets in every time he leaves. This lounge is much better to relax in while we wait for the airplane. I have decided to keep trying to get into this lounge as the normal waiting room is not very nice. Here I can sit and plug my lap top in and surf the web, eat, drink and be merry, even spread out on recliners and just chill.

I think what I will do when I go home again is take some photo's of the normal waiting room so you can see the difference :)

Things I have seen

Some things I have seen, not very interesting but just a few arb pics
Bats, I see lots of bats here!!!!

hmmm ... so this is where it all started before heading to South Africa??

Cameroon's biggest export

My 6th accident that I witnessed, just the basic bumper bashing, not many serious fatal accidents here which is strange if you had to see how they drive here!!

A funeral, they close off the road no matter where it is being held as they firmly believe that the country belongs to them and when you die, no permission is needed to hold a mourning ceremony which will last for 3 days. Nothing gets said, people just sit in the chairs and mourn. The last day they have a party of sorts to celebrate the person moving on.

Some local fishermen

A nice little Waterfront

I was very happy to have found this place, well to have been told about it and taken there. It is a little waterfront restaurant far away from the town (about 10km or so) where you can have a drink, eat and just chill. I am not going to go into detail about the place so just check the photo's out.

The entrance to the restaurant
Seating area

Another seating area

View of the restaurant from one of the seating areas

Decided to put a pic of me on the blog again while at the waterfront

My day at immigration

Well I thought I would never have had to go here but alas my visa was going to expire and I needed to get an extension, so because I was in Cameroon I thought the process was going to be "simple" enough to get another 90 day visa extension. My driver was luckily with me to assist on where to go and who to go and see.
Now I handed out a small amount of money on this day but none of it was going to the government, all the money was bribe money to get my visa sent through or processed much quicker. Faso took my passport and the only time I saw him was when he needed 5000 CFA or 10 000 CFA to bribe some policeman. I must say that I was pretty worried about my passport vanishing and I was no where near it.
I do however feel sorry for the locals and yes I am to blame here as well. You see I was standing behind a police lady who would do the initial processing of the passport and visa's and what I was witnessing was ... shocking. You see, a local's papers would come in for processing and she would open the passport or documentation and flip through it and because there was no money in it she would stack it on a pile of papers in the corner of her desk. A "visitor's" papers like my own would arrive at her desk with 5000 CFA or 10 000 CFA in the passport or documents and not even trying to hide it and in full view of everyone she would take the money out of the documentation and put it in her pocket and she would do the initial processing. I stopped counting at about 100 000 CFA (approximately $100)
It was an interesting day I can tell you ... oh and I only got 1 extra day on my visa, the money spent would have gotten me an extra 90 days if I had done the visa application in South Africa.
Some photo's I managed to take while I was there.
The waiting room if you are a local or with no money to bribe an official

The processing room ... well the one I was in when my passport left my hands, I tried to get a photo of the police lady pocketing the money but eyes were on me all the time and as we know, photo's are a big no no here.

uhmmm ... old files are stored or at least one of the places. Wonder if anyone's passport documentation is still among all those files somewhere?

Now, if you apply for a passport, they will tell you to come back every now and then to see if it is ready, the way you find out if it has arrived is you look on those pieces of paper on the wall and if you find your name, your passport is there. Reminds me of the day when we went to go look for our Matric results at the school.

Just in case you don't have a passport photo or you need some photo copies, the side stalls where you can get all of this done.

Old Apartment

Well I decided to post a few pics of what the apartment looked like where we lived for the last 5 months before moving into the hotel. So for interest sake, here is the apartment

This is the entrace way as you come through the front door

When you walk into the apartment to your right is another passage way that leads to the bedrooms and bathrooms. Directly opposite this passage way is another toilet

One angle of the lounge and dining room (with our driver Faso in the chair)

Another angle of the lounge and dining room

Kitchen :P

My bedroom

View looking towards the on-suite bathroom and balcony in my room

My bathroom

The balcony in my room