July 8, 2015: Nyasoso, Cameroon — While Benji disappeared into a village for more than an hour this afternoon to try fixing his broken speaker, I found myself sitting in our parked car, trying to explain what snow feels like to our driver, Oliver. “It’s really slippery,” I said, a bit at a loss. “And cold.” How do you describe snow to someone who’s never felt it?
Oliver then wanted to talk about American action movies. Do I know Arnold Schwarzenegger? (Not personally, I said, but I sat next to him in a restaurant in Idaho once. Oliver seemed impressed by this.) Do I like ninja movies? How about Rambo?
In turn, I asked Oliver if he’d ever owned a motorcycle, because it seems like everyone here has one. He said no—too scary, and if you crash, the medical insurance in Cameroon is terrible. “In Limbe, they made a whole new wing of the hospital just for motobike accidents,” he said. “They all come in with broken legs.” When I asked Benji the same question yesterday, he said yes, then added that he crashed once on some mud and spent two weeks hospitalized. Driving a car in Cameroon is interesting enough; I have yet to see a traffic signal or stop sign in this country (Oliver says they exist in Douala, but nobody pays any attention) and the roads are generally adventurous.
I’ve seen a lot of roads lately—and, around here, the roads are so bad that getting anywhere takes all day. Today Oliver, Benji and I made our way to Nyasoso, a very remote village on the flank of a volcano called Mount Kupe, to prepare for a big mountain hike tomorrow. En route, the most conspicuous birds I saw today were colonies of Village and Vieillot’s weavers; their globe-shaped nests looked like decorations in the roadside trees and grass.
New birds today: 2
Year list: 3431