Tag Archives: africa

No Wahalas….No Trouble….

Hey guys again I am so sorry I have been so SCARCE on my blog

However the good news is that I am back, and also in the time I havent been typing my little fingers off, I have been exploring the beautiful hidden secrets of this shabby chic African city.

Firstly I will start more recently, last night we had the BEST TAKE AWAY EVER! So I found this place last week with my friend while D was away working…its called The Maraj…Lebanese owned, which is common in Douala its French and Lebanese food mainly with loads of Pizza and Pasta restaurants, but back to that later, this place is awesome. Imagine your local take away shop where ever you are in the world, I know I have readers from all over so I have to be fair. It is super clean you can see your face in the gleaming white tiles, you park just outside and walk in on your left is a sit down restaurant set up for fine dining with shisha available at every table if you carry on past the glass window and the rotassirie chickens and the fresh kebab meat rotating you will find a small cafe where they serve snacks and frozen coffee…or you can wait to pick up your take away…,, The menu is doubled sided with everything form Hommous, which is now my new favorite dish with freshly prepared Pitta to KFC Southern fried chicken. Also D is a major lover of Kebab so they cater for everyone. I am in love with the food it is all freshly prepared aswell, so you are in for a wait but it is worth it….if you want to know anymore on the subject you guys should know what to do by now, leave a comment or email me at kirstensm23@hotmail.com….

There is a new hotel that has just been opened up the road from me I am yet to explore it but it is called Starwood i think..but I will let you know more about that next weekend, as I am going Sober for October I will not be hitting bars for drinks anymore, just mocktails and waiting for the sun to come out and tannnnn! But if I am not being too cheeky Sober for October is a great cause in aid of cancer research, I know someone close to me who is fighting a long battle with cancer, so if you could spare a few pounds/ dollars/ euro/ cfa/ yen …need i go on…that would be amazing…here is the link THANK YOU!

https://gosober.org.uk/profile/kirstenmackay

I have discovered so many cute and quaint coffee shops in the different areas of the city with my friend and also a GREAT nail salon, well more a beauty parlor so ladies pay attention…It is situated down a side street in Douala, and it amazing….you are greeted by uniformed staff with name tags and taken through to a back room with comfy seperate sofas with flannels on either side….I got a gel pedicure the first time and I sat and relaxed on a big comfy chair while for 12,000 cfa they exfoliated massaged and soothed my feet and did a perfect french pedi. Its so fetch! So i couldnt resist going back to get my nails done…which again was amazing and relaxing, i felt revitalized.

I spent the weekend at Le Meridein this weekend and had a bit too much champagne, just before October please note… but now it is coming into summer all the expats are out in force and every weekend you smell the rich smoky smell of barbecues we have a really nice butcher here in Bonapriso, its French owned and perfect for all your meaty needs, and very clean, the meat it perfect Grade A, as you will struggle in certain supermarkets. Also on the subject of summer while I sit in the long await sun watching the rays bounce of the shabby walls that are now being repainted, summer here is like a fresh lease of life, all you see is people building and repainting the long damaged property by rain, everything seems to sparkle with a new light. It makes you fall in love with a city you started to doubt….and I did start to get fed up of waking up to the cloudy overkast skies…

I have to tell you another reason why I havent been blogging is because I usually do it via my phone but me and Apple have had a bit of a disagreement recently. You see I replaced my handset before moving to West Africa to be safe as I know there are no official stores…

So here is my story, I was using my new iPhone and downloaded all my apps, and was happily facetiming etc in Africa to my friends and family…then its started crashing I may note that I have not dropped this phone or put it near water or damaged it in anyway…so I think okay I will restore it and feel like a technician once I am done, it still keeps crashing, what the heck? So I contact Apple,

They were really helpful but apparently being in Africa they cannot help you, so be warned Apple lovers be prepared for a long wait if something happens to your phone, and do not trust the post here. On the subject of ios7 i know I am way behind but again being in West Africa it is taken a while to get to me, however I find they have completely destroyed Jobs vision, but making it faster and cooler in the process.

Anyways thats all from me now as I am super busy I swear my emails havent stopped today, so guys please donate to a worthy cause Sober for October…link above and also email if you have any questions or leave me a cheeky comment.

Mwah

K x

Catching up….

Stepping out my front door this morning, everything was so different, today is when Douala comes back to life. Or so I am told from the countless amounts of people returning to the city and filling their shopping baskets with goodies and trinkets for the kids to take back to School in their lunch boxes. Its not muggy anymore and its not damp, it smells different and feels different, infact as I am writing this the sun is trying to break through the clouds that have shrouded over us for months. 

Its like watching a makeover show now, every street you drive down, someone is building something or rebuilding a pavement, cleaning out the overused rain drains or painting the front of the villas and flats, repairing the damage the long rainy season has put the buildings and streets through… The vendors have doubled on the street, making you eyes catch colours you didnt think you would see again, I know it sounds dramatic and I am from Scotland, so you may think why AM I complaining about the rain? Well this is the first time it has been the same weather, dampness and rain for as long as I can remember, but it is rainy season so thats what you get. 

Driving down the road this morning on the way to get morning messages and visit some people, I noticed all the restaurants, bars and shops open with all the new selections out and people bustling down the street on the way to something important, it was a nice site as up until now you did struggle to see anything but a few vendors and some workers covering their faces from the downpour whilst jumping over the ever growing muddy puddles and moss. 

All the EXPATS are back and it is now so different, its like the whole atmosphere has changed and Douala has become busy and thriving. I am so excited now to get out and explore all the different areas that have been closed off for months. 

Anyway I had to get that off my chest, I know I haven’t been writing in a while as I have been super busy planning some super stuff,  and also well of course living day to day life here and exploring…So I do apologize for not writing, but I have a list as long as my arm to start telling you about so I am sure I will make up for it….I hope…

So as some of you know, I started to drive over here, and have decided it isnt for me, being a new driver as it is, I am not as confident and here you have to be the best. Imagine driving a tanker in Central New York or London, you have to hustle and bustle pass the blurs of rusting taxi cabs, who dont mind what happens to you as they get the pay out, the other hundred cars, plus avoiding the bikes and mopeds speeding both sides of you not looking out for themselves, of course you are dodging the looks of the people selling stuff or begging on the street, because AGAIN if you hit them…well its not good. As you can imagine. Also the horror stories D has been getting into when he has just popped out to the supermarket are enough to put me off…What I have discovered here is that your horn is your best friend, if you dont use that horn you will not be seen or noticed and you can sit at a junction all day if the traffic doesnt let up, and if you are backing out on to the street, they wont stop you just have to play dodgems. It is a real talent in itself to drive here, and the many people that do it, please give me some lessons in being more bolder, I end up looking like a deer caught in a head light and panick. Wow way to make myself sound brave and adventurous . So thats my exciting news about driving, I got my license and I CAN DRIVE, but i wont be until maybe i get the slightest bit more clue to where I am heading to, so right now it makes a lovely ornament on my living room table.

If you are wanting to know where to get the best and I mean probably one of the best take out pizzas in the area that I have found so far, head to Le Meridien hotel, although order it an hour in advance they take crazy long, I havent actually tried other fast food joints yet, but now its summer there are so many open. The pizza in Merdien is woodstone oven and the toppings are fresh, it is proper Italian pizza, I have found around here that some of them dont use real cheese or they use sweet dough which isnt as nice. You can also sit in at the hotel by the pool side where they have a BBQ restaurant… its lovely and very relaxing…

I am going to pop out and have some coffee and write more….stay tuned and thank you guys for carrying on reading my blog…

x K

 

‘On The Road Again….”

So as you know from the blogs below I was just visiting Cameroon, so we returned to Scotland and said goodbye to family and friends and bought loads of stuff for our new house in Douala. I wont go into the details as I am sure you lovely readers want to read about Cameroon as that is what this blog is about. So from now on in I am writing about my experiences in West Africa as I have now been here two weeks, but unfortunately due to the change in climate and all the travelling me and D have done, my body gave in and I became very ill, so I was house bound with a severe chest infection and it being the rainy season the mugginess did not help! The second week here has been amazing and thats where I will start, in such a short time I have experienced so so much and I cannot wait to share it with you.

x K 

So how do you like it so far?….

” Its interesting, I have of course never been to West Africa before, well…Africa as a whole, so this is all so so new to me, but I am enjoying it so far”. I smile at another new face in the hazy twilight, clasping on to my plastic wine glass, desperate for people to stop asking the same question….

The BBQ

The metal gates opened and the car pulled up to a damp tall building, attached to the side was a long pool with an outdoor area, with EXPATS already pouring themselves wine and greeting each other and catching up on their lives. I jumped down from the jeep and walked the tiled steps up to the bar area, I stuck close to D like I was a child at a new school, I felt out of my depth and was already paranoid, because of the muginess that I was going to get some mean sweat patches, or glistening beads of sweat would form on my head out of nerves. 

I stood and awaited people to introduce themselves, and I was immediately pulled into a conversation about Cameroon and all its wonders, and how this woman was planning to move over as her husband was a rotator but he never came home as he was so busy.  The terrace filled with in minutes new faces striding toward the bar area with shouts and jokes filling the still, hot night. I looked around at the pool, glistening a dancing silver reflection against the damp rings of the building and nervously swallowed. Then I was approached by so many people who wanted to know exactly what I thought, sometimes D answered for me. I was still so in awe with the past few days I think he knew I was nervous and he effortlessly answered with order and calm like usual. I like the way he does that sometimes.

I swallowed another small Rose and looked for a refill, and hastily looked around for another refill to be told that there was none left, I sighed and joked a sad face at a jolly work colleague of D,’s and shrugged. I had been feeling a bit tipsy but I was really enjoying myself and having a laugh, I could get used to this every Sunday…maybe soon me and the man will be hosting them. The french dont know what a good Scottish party is like yet? But give us time. 

The mugginess eventually gets a hold of you and you body craves air con and a proper seat, D and I called the driver and slid away after a brilliant night of food, jokes and meeting people who were going to be a part of our new life…..

Monday, Monday….

I woke hastily like a kid on Christmas and quickly jumped into a cool shower and washed the nights smoke and wine off me, I wanted to be fresh, today we were seeing our new house. Plus I was allowed to come to the office and see where everyone worked. I dressed in a simple white tee and black jeans with my spiked converse. I knew I was going to be hot, but with any luck the huge drops of rain would splash some cold on to me. 

Our first stop was the office to say hello and sort out things for HR for D’s new job we handed in our IDs and were given some lanyards with VISITOR stamped on it. One thing I have noticed driving around Douala is the security is brilliant, there is police or some sort of uniform not as a threat but just protecting the streets which makes you feel more safe. I honestly thought it was going to be gun clad war torn muddy desert roads…how wrong was I? Never judge a book by its cover is what they say, but it should really be is never judge anyone or anything by a name or what youve heard. Experience it for yourself. Because you never can truly make an opinion until you have experienced it. 

I digress. We pulled up to the same place we had the BBQ the night before and pulled into the opposite driveway and a approached a beautiful tiled building, I could handle this it was beautiful, and for the first time since I had landed it was sunny, which is rare in rainy season. I wont go into detail about the house as that is for later, I still havent covered the rest of my move around the UK before returning permanently….

That night we were invited out to dinner with some work colleagues and their wives and girlfriends, I was looking forward to meeting people again and maybe form some friendships before we took the step of moving….

TBC…..Le Boj Restaurant and Bar

x K