Tag Archives: travels

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

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 

 

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