Tag Archives: cameroon

Long Time No Speak….

Well firstly i would like to apologize for not writing sooner, I thought this blog was a flop until I was sat in a cafe and heard to EXPAT girls talking about it. So I got the strength to boot the old laptop back up and start writing again, but its that same old problem where to start? Its almost been 6 months and times and weather has changed dramatically, Douala itself has starting blooming into an upcoming place to be and Im not saying that because Im trying to sell you on the place, brand new hotels are popping up everywhere with luxury you could only find in 5 star places….with sleek marble and turquoise water that in the heat make you want to fling yourself at them! Not the mention the cocktails are great too!

I dont want to overwhelm you as so much has happen so maybe I will copy my big sister who writes an important blog and do my A/Zs.

Im sitting here at my dining room table looking over the balcony with the white veil curtains floating in the wind just as you see in the movies, there is ALOT of big birds here ALOT! they quite scare me actually. So that was A ALOT see what I did there…..Before I get started I should say I have become quite an avid TV watcher over here such as Scandal, Revenge, Once Upon A Time etc and of course Game of Thrones hence why I have BECOME quite lazy with my BLOG and going out. Cause maybe its just me and im an ultimate COMPLAINER but it gets too damn hot in the summer so midday unless you are half submerged in crystal waters of LIMBE or Kribi or even your own swimming pool is too hot! I was in the supermarket Casino the other day and my step daughter Chloe has come down to Africa just like me she is a first timer, and while on the subject of supermarkets its not only Casino now….you now have the choice of Leader Price, EcoMarche ABZ and much much more,which im sure the drivers love. P.S The veg stalls on the side of the roads are amazing dont buy in supermarkets its smaller and RIIIIIPPPPP OFFFFFF. Although sometimes you have to be careful as I had pulled up to one of these amazing stalls with my driver to buy potatoes you never seen bigger potatoes here…..wow! and this dude comes to my window and offers me grapes for the pleasure of 5,000cfa which is around 10 dollars….so i think you can guess what happened next, if you have read my blog i dont get taken the piss of!

Anyways what was I saying Dining in Douala has become amazing, for example I have found the best pizza in Douala, for reals Ill attach the link to this post, the restaurant is called Cinq Fourchettes and this pizza rivals Dominos and when you are in West Africa this is amazing!!! Bar and restaurants seem to be popping up everyday bigger and better, TripAdvisor is my best friend here and if you do ever move here it will be yours aswell. There are certain places you can stumble upon that you sit down and think you are in the middle of a big city in USA or Paris, amazing…. Even though my time is coming to an END in Africa and I thought i would never be happier to leave, as some places you never truly settle and to be honest I havent, its like a jigsaw puzzle that fits but you have to force…our next place hopefully will be a perfect fit for a lil ole singer songwriter like me! I find myself looking around me thinking myself lucky as I breath in the dusty fumes and watch the hustle of the city streets below me from my balcony or walking around that I will miss this….so FORGIVE me Douala when I FIRST got here I never truly did give you a chance you are a truly fascinating city that is slowly going to become a major hype…so on the record now I wrote this in 2014 and dont say i didnt warn you that its pretty epic.

I thought I would be GLAD to be leaving and dont get me wrong I am….not working for me and being a stay at home GAL isnt me, and probably never will be, you do depend on a lot of people here and if they let you down your STUCK but have no fear youll still enjoy experiences you will not have anywhere else….   so where are we now in the alphabet, im going to probably do this in three parts as amazingly enough I know people are still keen to read this blog, thank you again for your emails and support this year and with this blog and I hope when I start another one when I leave I hope I take you guys with me and you keep following my adventures.

Happiness is hard to find sometimes when you are in a place that you constantly see poverty and struggling, but it really brings you HOME and realize just how lucky you are, there are girls maybe six or seven begging for 50 cfa which is about 10 pence, just to be able to take home and eat or feed their sick family. They are so cute and find air conditioning and phones fascinating. Could you even put yourself in that position for a second? I know I couldnt. Chloe coming down here was a real eye opener for her and constantly gives what she can to help out the needy and the poor, Im impressed at her confidence and caring attitude as to be honest I thought she would find it scary and difficult like I did when I first arrived. So KUDOS Chloballs amazing girl, with a heart of gold, who cant bear to see anyone without…. she has overcome so much here in Africa and only been here a month.

In Douala you need to keep your wits about you in general the locals are lovely people who always smile and will talk to anyone who is willing to have a conversation, but mainly what amazes me is how INVENTIVE Africans can be, there are trucks, bikes and cars for way before i was born or maybe alot of us even reading this were born, running as smooth as a brand new cadi! They dont look like much but my parents always told me its whats on the inside right? Another awesome invention is Saneli bikes that are also Taxis in rainy season they add umbrellas and mud guards for the comfort and cleaniness of the 3/5 passengers on the back of the bike. Yes that is 3/5 passengers on a bike made for 2….but hey ho! You would be amazed at what they can turn the simplest things into to get a job done, sometimes I just stop and watch as man or woman make yet another useful tool to help them in day to day life living and working on the streets of Douala.

I know JAY walking is a big thing in the USA and you can get a serious fine, or sometime if you do it more than once you can go to JAIL. I havent physically seen the JAILS here but I have seen the JAIL trucks and the courts, its not a pretty sight, imagine when you see a truck filled with animals heading to somewhere we wont mention and you see them pressed against the chained grills of the truck, thats how the transport the people who are detained to the Judge and Jury, and believe me you smell the truck before you see it, you cant imagine what the conditions are like inside those brickwalled Jails, so what im saying is dont be getting into any trouble anytime soon guys if you are heading to West Africa…

K is going to be for Kirsten my name,,yeah I sat and thought about it K…mmmm couldnt work anything out, and anyone reading this who knows me will be like of course…self obsessed much aha! Ive been to Africa I have lived in Cameroon and lived here for a year…and you have to give yourself KUDOS as its not all rainbows and butterflies and Safaris this is real and this is as raw as it gets. So anyone coming here should know that its not easy but it can be done and not everyone can say they have been given an opportunity like this…

Limbe is a beautiful small town about a 2 hour drive from Douala depending on Traffic. In 1999 there was a volcanic eruption that made the debris travel 16 kilometeres showering Limbe and neighbouring towns like Buea and Muyuka. The eruption lasted from the 28th March 1999 to April 16th. This town to this day still has flaming rocks and a lava river passing through it. It is the great Mount Cameroon. Back to Limbe Ill get back to the interesting Volcanic eruption in M and V. Limbe is a beautiful seaside town where they take rigs to be fixed and serviced but also has some of the finest beach resorts, but all the beachs are black sand, so needless to say you get rather muddy. I went to Seme Beach for the day and its beautiful, the pool is natural lake with diving boards and a bridge over it, imagine a natural lazy river that you get in water parks around the world. You can also horse ride on the beachs and they do a lovely buffet lunch that gives you so many options you dont know where to start. So if you do move to Douala of visit leave a day out to go visit it is so amazing and a great day for familes and people of all ages.

Mount Cameroon is a feat in its own right. It looms over the small towns that surround Limbe and you can climb it but it is 16k and you stay over night at the peak, Myself, D and Chloe only climbed 2k up and down and that was tough, as it is volcanic rock leftover from the debris of the eruption in 1999 which debris travelled 16k makes it a hard and awkward climb, it certainly gave me a few battle scars and VERY sore muscles the next day but the view from half way up was insane, the orginal crater from back in the day is now a dense rain-forest which you have to cross to get to the peak, by that time after a full lunch I think I will have to return and try again another day. but if you are a fan of geology or volcanos or just enjoy a good climb, Mount Cameroon is a beautiful challenge with serious rewards and sore at the end of it, but think of it this way, once in a life time and when your done soak yourself in the clear waters of the Hotel Seme Lake!

My last letter of this post is sadly not the happiest…my N. I dedicate this post to Nairn O Donnell, Chloes brother and D’s son who sadly passed away last month tragically at 17, we travelled back from Africa to pay our respects. So Nairn you are my N and this is my dedication to you, I never knew you truly but RIP angel! Always in our hearts and minds.

Thanks for reading guys and stick around for another post soon……..

K x

Travelling in STYLE…..or so I thought…….

Air France has been awesome to me so far, their twitter has helped me book flights, cancel them, change them and even check in online and just help me in general. Also amazing flights..but I was so disappointed to have to write that its all changed, my opinion on AirFrance and the customer service online and at the help desks havent but the inflight experience I am about to share with you is something I hoped I would never write. This all sounds a bit dramatic but you guys know me by now so I feel I can be myself which is DRAMATIC! 

I am back in Douala after a break in London, which was amazing, stayed in some awesome hotels and saw some awesome things, I dont miss living in London after being back I realize the hustle and bustle is just too much for me and how the Londoners cope with the traffic and travel KUDOS! But I do miss Western food and I did have my fill…..anyways I am going to crack on with writing about AirFrance…

Remember guys I am doing Sober for October in aid of Cancer Research so please please donate, I know it is cheeky using my blog for help but its charity and think about how awesome your karma is going to be once you donate even a few quid o r dollars etc….so in advance I thank you so much here is the link!

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

Just click and instructions are on the page! 

 

AIR FRANCE

 

Air France if you are reading this I apologize for having to do this, but I wouldnt be much of a travel blogger if I didnt…..

To Whom It May Concern
I am a International Singer/ Songwriter which means I travel an awful lot around the world, I am currently working out of West Africa, I also run a highly read travel blog about my adventures from working and exploring around the world.
After running for our Flight on October 5th and being stopped and searched by security causing us to miss our flight to Paris, hence miss our connection to Douala…we are now eventually home after Sky Priority changed our flights no questions asked and with a fast no charge service. What could possibly go wrong? The flight was pretty packed so we would be sitting seperatly not bad at all right, and probably some nice business man would switch with us.
We headed to yet another hotel, we had had an amazing time in London but again it does knock it out of you living in hotels, we were tired. You forget how much the hustle and bustle of Central London takes its toll, especially when you are used to West Africa.
The alarm buzzed in our ears at 5.00am the following morning and we hastily showered and walked through the tunnel linking the Hilton and Heathrow Terminal Four to check in for our flights. That was simple enough, we were told that both flights were at full capacity so we were unable to change our seats. Again no problem.
We eased through security with no issues unlike yesterday and boarded the *flight number and time* to Paris. It was boarded quickly and we were reversing away from Heathrow bang on time, with exception from a large man snoring next to D the flight was plesant. Until landing, we came in and heard the roar of the landing gear attempting to come down. About 4 metres from the ground the plane accelerated and swooped up back in to the dark skies of early morning Paris, and a bustle of activity sounded around the cabin as people looked around confused and dazed asking whats happened…after circling for about 30 mins we eventually landed. It was an aborted landing, which was exciting but it had also given us only 20 minutes to change terminals and rush to our flight, we did have time for a quick munch in the lounge before rushing to the gate, to be told it had been delayed, we walked away and kept a close eye on the screens which said it was not boarding untill 11.10, it was 10.30 we had plenty of time, or so we thought turns out they hadnt bothered to change the screens, only the one above the gate which lucky D noticed which stated it was Boarding…lucky us! This could of been more serious, we could of missed another flight due to a fault not of our own, screens need to be kept up to date.

Once on the flight *Date flight number and time* to Douala, we were seated quickly and served champange or juice, whatever you decided.
After trying in vain online and tweeting, to change our dishes from fish as for some reason AirFrance LOVE serving fish, nothing against them but they should give more options for starters. We found a stewardess who was very friendly when we told her that we dont want fish and cant eat it, then the steward came along asked if we were brother and sister, quite offended as we are husband and wife and also none of his business as it doesnt affect our appetite i found it quite rude as if we were being judged for not wanting fish like we had to give an excuse or reason.
We settled down and got comfy reading the inflight magazines and deciding what to buy from duty free. At 11am the orginal time the flight was to take off our glasses were cleared and we prepared for take off. However little did we know we were no where close to leaving Paris. D asked for another drink and we were refused being told everything was shut down in prep for take off, we assumed we would be leaving with in five ten minutes. Two and half hours later, not even a bottle of water or some light snacks, with only ocassional apologly from the Pilot and some attendants, we pushed back. However im sure the AirFrance flight attentdants enjoyed the delay as they had time to ignore the customers and giggle and gossip in the galley, only occasionally moving out your way if you needed the bathroom to which they audibly sighed as if YOU were inconviencing them!
The flight eventually pushed back and we soared to the skies starting our journey to West Africa, I was tired after the early rise and was looking forward to my full flat bed seat and a good sleep after my meal, little did I know this was going be the WORST flight I have ever had in Business Class in my whole lucky life of travelling in this style.
I kept my head phones on as the drink and food trolley approached I smiled at the stewardess as she placed a tray infront of me, with Salmon and Scallops! I leaned over to her and stated I dont eat fish, politley I reminded her that I had told the staff this earlier , she then looking annoyed took the tray back, whipped off the two plates and slammed the tray infront of me offering me bread. Now remember I had already alerted two cabin members of mine and D’s food preferences. Is there no communication? I asked for an extra bread roll and settled down waiting for my main, on the other side of me Dave was having the same argument with the Steward who had taken our complaint at the start of the flight, did no one listen to the customer? we were pretty miffed and stressed as we tucked into our bread and butter, as there were no other options for the starters except fish. Our main came which I have to say was a loevly chicken dish, I have no complaints I cleared my plate.
After the tray was cleared away I had a quick Earl Grey Tea and tried to recline my seat as I needed a good sleep so I was fresh for landing. I pressed the dial that puts your bed out full it made a sound and started going back until it made three clicking noises and started to rise back up. Great, I looked over at D and he was reclining, I was so jelaous, I asked to be moved but as the flight was so busy they couldnt, there was no more they could help, again I felt like I was the one in the wrong. So i settled in for the most uncomfortable 4 hours of my business class travels. D being a gentleman he is stayed at the same level as me, meaning we both had no sleep, the reason you pay extra for business class is so you have a peaceful comfy flight and get waited on in polite nice standard. Both D and I left the flight with very sore backs and very very tired.
I did all that I could do to make myself comfy and watched countless movies, while the other passengers slept as I shifted constantly as parts of me got pins and needles and became numb, the lights of the cabin eventually came on and they brought round snacks and offered tea and coffee, I ordered a tea and selected a cookie. I waited for half an hour as other customers got their hot beverages and snacks, still nothing. I looked down to the galley and all the stewards and stewardesses were there having a gossip and a giggle. At this point I was angry fed up and was not up for another argument. So buzzed the button reminded them about my tea and asked for a pen for my landing card, both requests were taken on and IGNORED, the staff just went back to the galley, so they didnt miss the gossip. I probably would of got better service in economy.
The only good thing I can say is our luggage arrived, being a world traveller I understand that when you have a tight connection sometimes your luggage doesnt arrive. But I was plesantly suprised after the disastereous flight that our luggage came through in one peice. So AirFrance I thank you for that! If you could address these issues above as I am a very good customer as is my husband, we would be very grateful. This was the worst flight ever, I would even go as far to say we will choose another airline to fly back with if this is not addressed as I will not pay to go through that again.
I am not one to complain, so I thank you in advance as your company has been nothing but helpful and well amazing up until this point…I am disappointed I have had to write this.

 

Until later guys x K

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

 

Les Banquettes….

We stepped out in to the dusky light, after the truck pulled up to the front of a beautiful wooden and stone building with ‘Les Banquettes. Bar & Grill’ lettered in gold on the outside. This restaurant is located on Rue Joss, number 96, it is near The American Embassy and also near Echo Bank, I may aswell tell you this now because as soon as I am finished writing about this amazing place you are going to want to visit. 

The air conditioning hit us as we stepped into this amazing clean restaurant, which sometimes is not an easy thing to find in the Centre of Douala. The owner comes straight up to the door and introduces himself as Costa and seats us in a booth looking out over the quiet damp streets.

Immediately he grabs a menu telling us to pick a cocktail off the menu, there was so many so we just told him to surprise us, we also ordered a bottle of champagne. Costa returned with two mojito styled cocktails, one that had a cream base and the other a champagne, zingyness. They were both beautiful and relaxed me even further into the beautiful surroundings of this perfect bar, you could call it one of the best kept secrets, as before now I hadn’t heard about it, I had only read the stunning reviews on TripAdvisor.

The bar is lit up under the spirits in blues and reds making it look modern and inviting and the seating is either booths or traditional wooden tables with matching chairs, I look around admiring the wall art which are black and white pictures of different cities around the world with splashes of color complimenting the decor of the rest of the bar. Everything is so modern, you would think you would be sitting in one of London’s celeb hot spots. 

Costa came by to check on us and offered us some light bites to soak up the tasty cocktails, again he asked if we trusted him and we nodded and he rushed off to the kitchen to place our order… I noticed that with every customer that came through the door, Costa would greet them making them feel welcome, in Douala that is rare, you usually get the stares from the locals and a quiet question of what beer you would like to drink, while your praying its cold….he greets them like old friends and sits them down getting drinks for them quickly. The waitresses and waiters are all dressed fashionably in black with denim accessories which give it a bohemian feel. The service is so fast and reliable. Someone is always around to take your order. 

The food arrived on long plates and I almost laughed out loud with joy. In front of me and D were mozzarella sticks in a breaded batter and chicken dippers with a homemade tomato sauce. It was like America had come to Africa. It also helped that these were me and D’s fave foods. We dived in, and everything was delicious. Thats not all we got, just when we thought that was it, this huge salad with dressing dripping off the fresh wet lettuce was placed in front of us along with a side of warm french bread. The dressing was beautiful and the salad was one of the freshest I had tasted.

We slurped on our cocktails and licked our fingers clean as we chatted away the night, accompanied by the mood enhancing music of James Blunt. It was now time to get some champagne, Costa delivered the champagne in a standard silver bucket and hooked it on to the side of our table. within the bucket was long cocktail sticks pierced with fresh fruit including pineapples and grapes…to compliment our bubbly drink. So far it was perfect we chimed our glasses together and sat back in the smoky bar, people watching and noticing as the night went on the more the bar filled with EXPATS and other workers winding down on a Friday night. The atmosphere was brilliant, it made you feel comfortable and at home. We were only meant to be out for a few but we ended up staying out and meeting people, and the next thing i was being handed shot glasses with jager in it, I think it was time to go….dont need my head minced again. All and all though it was a brilliant night and so reasonably priced considering you feel you are in the hippest bar ever….I will be going back and I’m sure it will it will maybe become my regular Friday night haunt. Maybe see you there? Ill be the one sipping a mojito with sticky fingers from all the delicious food.

If my review isnt enough for you guys to head down there check out TripAdvisor and the amazing reviews yourselves below….

http://www.tripadvisor.fr/Restaurant_Review-g297392-d4063023-Reviews-Les_Banquettes_Grill_Bar-Douala_Littoral_Region.html

If you want me to check out a bar or restaurant or a POI for you please dont hesitate to email me on kirstensm23@hotmail.com or follow me on twitter @KirstenMackay19. 

x K

 

 

Clubbing, Horse RIding and Music….

Well guys it has been an eventful 10 days for me and I do apologize that I have been behind in sharing it with you all, I keep getting invited out and then I see loads of things, and I promise myself I am going to blog about it. So here I am 10 days later, excluding the picture post. 

 

There is a wee boy at the top of my cul de sac, he stands on the corner everyday with his mum and dad, dressed in an oversized shirt, probably about 2 or 3. He just stands there, no toys, nothing. But he doesnt know any different, he watches the cars wizz by on the busy main road and smiles and waves at passengers in the big trucks and cars. His mum and dad run a corn stall, they sit and pick fresh corn and roast it on a mini open fire with a bent grill over the top, its smells amazing. I havent tried one yet as I usually am in a hurry to get home or been out to eat. But this week I am going to try it. 

I went out with a friend the other day just on a quick stop tour around the hot points of Douala, as me being ill I havent had a chance to experience the important parts of day to day living here in Cameroon. So firstly I went to get my hair done in her salon, it is an expat salon with massage services, waxing and much more. 

After being pampered and feeling beautiful I was ready to explore the city and find out the important things, like maybe…horse riding…okay I know thats not important but I like horse riding, so we headed down to the port, past the markets and the muddy stalls lined together like soldiers selling artifacts from all over Cameroon and might I add some lovely shoes and dresses. The fruit and veg stalls here are amazing, it hits you like an explosion of color, freshly picked that morning, and it is all massive. I think the mushrooms are the size of an average onion. Yes I KNOW! I was told that you have to be confident when you buy from the stalls and dont let them try and take you for a ride, so my advice is that you have an idea of prices in your head, by asking the locals first before going to a street vendor, it also helps if you have someone from Douala with you to help. 

D is in love with Soya which is a fatty meat on a stick roasted over an open fire served with onions and a spicy salsa, it is cooked on the street and smells amazing, I dont eat red meat but D being my guinea pig I feel I can write about it. This is an African traditional meal but it is sometimes made with liver so…be aware….

The port is the business part of the city with all the imports and exports coming off the huge ships and loaded on to rusty trucks with the longest trailers I have ever seen, they bump along the country roads making their own drum beat as they go, you almost feel nervous that the logs or trees are going to come loose off the back as the tarp strains to hold the heavy trunks beneath it. As I have said previously it is Rainy Season which is our ‘WINTER’ if you will, so the terrain is muddy and the roads get ruined with potholes as the rain works away at the sandy ground, leaving almost a childs game of dodge the puddles when driving down the road, most people have 4×4 here as it is rough terrain and the smaller the car the more risk you have of becoming stuck in a ditch, and believe me I have already seen alot of cars stuck, you would not believe how deep some of the holes are, i think the nose of your car visits Australia. I asked the locals why they dont patch up the roads, they told me that because of the volumes of trucks coming in and out of the port it is impossible to maintain. So as we headed down the rough road avoiding trucks and the three manned  bikes that seem to come out of nowhere, and smiling and waving at the workers eating their lunch and chilling in the muggy heat. We turned down a road and came to an immediate halt, there infront of the small car was a huge lake that had been formed over days of rain and trucks using this as a sneaky route to skip traffic, the only way round was the sides and they looked risky at best, we were going to have to balance the car round the edge. There was a small pink stall and a local man came and told us what to do, my friend who was nervous followed his instructions as I planned waited with baited breath as the car rocked over the murky water as bikes sped round it with ease, why didnt i get a bike and why did i wear sandals today? I didnt know I would possibly be swimming. As we revved out of the last ditch I sighed in relief and smiled, then I saw the rest of the road, it was a guessing game and if you picked the wrong route you were stuck, it was like a really mild game of car russian roulette, one wrong ditch it was abandon…sh….CAR….

We eventually after a bumpy ride, pulled up to the horse riding stables and the green rusty gates opened and I saw 50 stables lined up with the horses heads poking out at the new arrivals, I smiled this was beautiful with training arenas, and main show jumping ground and the tack room and shower area was so clean, one of the cleanest stables I have seen, some of the horses were not keen on being touched, I feel like some of the stable hands dont show them respect which makes it harder for new humans to approach them. Unfortunately due to the ground being so muddy and the arena being damaged by the weather you are not allowed to ride until Summer season. Me and the boyfriend are going to visit so he can see it, as its only round the corner from his work. 

After an amazing day seeing Douala and the Port and learning all the places to buy all the fruit and veg and little tokens….we were going clubbing on Saturday night and I was so excited…..

Until later

x K 

 

Being ill SUCKS!

So as you know from my previous blogs I have been very ill, but it is slowly getting better…thank god for that, as it has been two weeks of hell for me and D who in fairness to him as well as going to work he has been looking after me, cute right? So i haven’t really had a chance to explore. I went out to the Doctors and the hospital yesterday, which I was nervous about as I have obviously just seen hospitals in Africa on the TV. The driver picked me up at 9.30am, I cant drive yet as my new license hasn’t come through, but the good news is EXPATS you can drive out here, and the cars are awesome, there are Range Rover garages, Porsche garages and much more and it is easy to switch your Drivers Licenses over. Anyway I digress, we headed to the hospital, which is near the airport, we are coming out of rainy season now so its great to see the puddles drying and the roads not making muddy patterns on the cars. Also it is nice for the stalls and markets to be able to lift their covers and  enjoy the sunshine! Africa looks so different in the sun, like a different country, the lush green trees and the dusty roads contrast to make a really beautiful picture.  

Anyway back to going to the Doctors, I had a jittery feeling in my stomach, as I hate doctors and I really am stubborn when it comes to going, i prefer rest and letting it get better on its own. Also I had heard some hospitals over in West Africa are quite ‘scary’. We pulled up into a damp looking street with a arched entrance. The nurse and the driver turned to me and said this is the hospital, well it looked amazing, it had ivy running up the walls growing unruly out of the faded sandstone bricks. The lobby was tiled and it smelt like bleach and medicine, we walked through the waiting room to the private practice where I waited to be seen. So far so good, nothing scary, everyone was friendly and helpful.

I was seen quickly by a nurse who took my vitals, they were all so professional talking to me about my home country Scotland asking if I knew the people they knew. I know Scotland is small compared to some of your countries readers, but we do not know everyone in Scotland. I digress again….

The doctor was friendly and professional sourcing my illness straightaway and making sure I was keeping up with my Malaria tablets and my Yellow Fever injection hadn’t given me any difficulties.  We laughed and joked and I immediately hoped that if I got ill again this would be the Doctor to look after me. He prescribed me my medicine and then told me I had to go give blood and some swabs for a test, You all know how that works, but I need to reassure you, it is just like any other hospital, clinical, clean and fast. 

I head to the pharmacy and handed over my doctors note, which I couldnt read, I find myself thinking do ALL doctors get taught to write so NO ONE can read it, so be assured you will feel right at home with the Doctors handwriting as they still scribble over here. haha!

The pharmacies just like normal, you go in hand your paper in and wait, then pay. Nothing different. There are no witch doctors or herbs being thrown at you. I am feeling so much better now and thats all thanks to the medical care here in West Africa, I am so impressed with the medical care and the professionalism of everyone involved, so if you are thinking about travelling to Africa there is nothing to be concerned about, but I would recommend to do purchase some health insurance or private medical care as you could end up waiting a while if not.

So expats and people thinking about travelling DO IT. It is an awesome experience here in Africa and now I have just proven if you do fall ill. NO CONCERNS.

I would just like to thank you all for the recent follows, it means so much to me that there is such a diverse crowd WORLDWIDE ….my mind is blown….reading MY BLOG! If you guys do have any questions about my blog, or want me to explore and check out certain things, dont hesitate to email me with questions….kirstensm23@hotmail.com

or tweet me at @KirstenMackay19 

or follow me for pictures on Instagram @KirstenMackay19

Thanks guys 

 

x K