Tag Archives: scotland

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

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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