Friday, February 15, 2019

Calabar, Nigeria, February 15, 2019

We had one goal to accomplish today and that was to obtain our Cameroon visas.  Because there is fighting along the west border of Cameroon between English and French speaking citizens, in order to get a visa, a person has to buy a ferry ticket because driving across the border is not permitted.  So, we hopped in cabs and went to the ferry terminal to buy our tickets.  $85 later, we had them, even though we have no intention of using them, and we were on our way to the Cameroon Consulate.  Once there, we had to fill out a form, attach 3 photos - why?, as well as 2 copies of our passport - why? why?, our yellow fever certificate which is a normal requirement, pay $123 and then we each had to meet with the vice chancellor.  I was sure someone was going to blow our lie and say we were travelling by overland truck but no one did.  It took about 5 hours for everyone to be interviewed and finally about 6:30 pm our visas were in our passports and we had permission to attempt going to Cameroon.

The hotel where we're staying is an absolute dump.  Some rooms are missing light bulbs, the air conditioners don't work in the few rooms that apparently have them, there are five gallon pails in the tubs for bucket showers, some bathrooms don't have any water, some fans don't work and on and on.  My room is okay, except the ceiling is dripping and I'm just hoping it's clean water not from the sewer.  

For supper we walked to the corner where there was all kinds of meat grilling:  chicken of course but also turkey, beef with onions and peppers as well as gizzards.  The street is dead in the day but packed at night.  Africans have figured out that it's too hot to be out mid afternoon, something we haven't realized yet.

Tomorrow is Election Day and absolutely no vehicles are permitted on the streets and all business will be closed.  That prevents us from heading to the border so it will hopefully be a nice restful day.

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