Sunday, February 17, 2019

Ikom, Nigeria to Ekok, Cameroon, February 17, 2019

What an awesome room I had!  It was a suite with a king sized bed, air conditionner that worked and  ceiling fan, my own bathroom and a sitting area with a tv, another air conditionner that worked and another ceiling fan.  I felt like a queen after that shithole in Calabar!  
We met Mark Dawson, my Cairo to Cape Town tour leader with Oasis who was waiting for part of his group to show up from Drill Monkey Ranch.  We planned to go to the Cameroon border together and Oasis had a commander hired to escort us to Limbe.  After leaving the hotel and fuelling up, we were on our way.  At the first check point, we had to show our passports and it was then that Lutz remembered his was still under his pillow back at the hotel so I flagged down a passing cube van that took us part way back and then we hopped into the driver's car, which just happened to be parked on the side of the road, to go the rest of the way to the hotel.  Luckily, and no surprise at all, the room had not been cleaned so his passport was there and in no time we were back at the truck.  Once at the border, Will and Mark made numerous trips to the immigration office with our passports, bringing back forms and waiting for Nigeria to decide who knows what.  We were parked next to a home with a deck and cold drinks and just a few meters away from grilling beef, omelettes, noodles and cow soup.  We were well fed and watered during the hours and hours we spent waiting.

The family run business included three sons named Good Luck, Faithful and God's Gift-



I'm not sure if Mom is teaching the boys Igbo but I like how the word 'rat' follows meat and other things to eat-



Our truck looks gigantic beside Oasis'-



Finally we were stamped out of Nigeria and crossing a river in No Man's Land to get to Cameroon-



Once on the Cameroon side, the shit show began.  What on earth were we doing here?  Didn't we know they were in the middle of a civil war?  Didn't we know it was unsafe to be here?  Because I speak French, I had to speak to "mon patron" on the phone.  He asked over and over how did we know one another.  I kept with the lie we had used in Calabar - we met on Facebook and on other trips.  He didn't believe me.  Finally he said we must return to Nigeria and fly to Douala.  I stared at Mark and told him what he said.  Returning to Nigeria is not possible for most because they only have a single entry visa and once stamped out, you are out.  I have a double entry but have no intention of returning.  Mark talked about an Oasis trip that spent 7 days at a border and Will shared some stories too.  I am not looking forward to days and days at this place!  There was a lot of yelling going on in pidgin French.  Some of us left the compound to change money and we met an army truck with a machine gun mounted on its roof and about 10 soldiers in the vehicle.  When we got back to the compound, the chief of police was furious that we had left.  We were not stamped into the country so we had no business going into town.  

They've obviously had some problems because numerous places are sandbagged including the entrance to immigration.  It's well protected-



We set up our tents-



 and kitchen and went to bed after being told that the militants have fired into the police compound but not for a month.  We are hopefully far enough away not to be struck!  Things are getting more exciting all the time!  

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