Tag Archives: expat

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



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