May 12, Star Land Hotel, Douala, Cameroon
The Lonely Planet aptly describes Douala as ‘sticky, icky and frenetic’. True dat. I would also add ‘ cacaphonic’ (not an actual word but an apt descriptor), as there is a constant background honk of horns.
Arriving at Douala airport, I was impressed by the levels of filth and how badly it smelled. I was less than impressed by the immigration official who called me Mami…. he got a bit of a dressing down as I told him I wasn’t his Maman or anyone else’s. I also feel like my youth has now clearly departed if total strangers think it is acceptable to call me Mum!. Exiting customs into the carnage of the arrivals hall, the hotel shuttle driver was (of course) not there, so I found another ‘ reliable’ taxi driver to drop me off, and was entertained by his 15 minute monologue on his sexual energy and then politely declined his offer of a dinner date.
I spent three hours walking around today to see the ‘sights’ . Again – there were only two – the Espace Doual’art and the cathedral. I loved the Espace Doual’art which was a small but perfectly formed contemporary art space. The Hako Hankson works on display were terrific!!!
It was a hot and sticky day, and I was dripping with so much sweat I almost wished it would start raining. Fortunately most of the locals were sweating too!
I was cautious in my wanderings to keep my photos discreet, given my fellow adventurer Evelthon was detained by the police here a few weeks ago for ‘tourist offences’ for taking pictures of the cathedral. There isn’t much point arguing with the authorities here!. Fortunately no-one bothered me apart from a couple of dodgy playboys.
Following the dictator theme – as an fyi, the Cameroon People’s ‘Democratic” Movement party and the leader Paul Biya have been in power since 1982. Love democracy in action.