July 10, 2015: Limbe, Cameroon — This morning my breakfast was a bowl of plain white rice with a piece of unidentified gristle, eaten on a dusty roadside with the freshly severed head of a cow lying on a nearby table and a guy standing behind the table, efficiently hacking up the rest of the cow with a machete. He sold off the head and the feet (hooves? hocks?) before I’d finished my rice. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a box of Honey Nut Cheerios.
After yesterday’s adventurous hike up Mount Kupe, Benji, Oliver and I slowly re-entered the relative civilization of Limbe today. I’m scheduled to fly out of nearby Douala tomorrow to South Africa, which means that my West African tour of duty is winding down. Benji stopped us at several points to do some roadside birding today, but we didn’t turn up many new sightings; the main highlight was a Long-crested Eagle outside Buea (pronounced boo-yah!), and, for the fifth day out of eight so far in Cameroon, we spent most of the day in the car.
At least traveling on Cameroon’s byways never gets dull. Smoke, exhaust, mud, music, food, trash, haze, engines, voices, and vivid colors fill your eyes, ears, and nose; every so often there is a police checkpoint, toll collection (a person standing on the road wearing an orange vest), or bustling open-air market. At every speed bump, people crowd around, pressing forward all manner of goods for sale; Benji made some quick through-the-window transactions in pidgin English for peanuts, bananas, bread, plums, and roasted corn. At intervals, someone shouts “white man!” as we pass by, though it took me a while to catch on to the local accent. For the most part, people are friendly or indifferent, and it’s fun to roll across this country with the windows down, soaking in the strange tapestry of sights.
New birds today: 2
Year list: 3450