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Talbot Cultural Tours - days 1-3

23 January 2007 - 10:38am -- Joseph

Jan 20th - 22nd

My parents arrived on Saturday, and of course they were eager to experience the real Cameroon. Accordingly, I have done my best to indulge them. Their arrival at the airport was fairly trouble-free. On the journey back, I arranged for us to be stopped by a Police roadblock and have myself detained by the roadside for an hour in the dark for having an expired visa. This enabled my Parents to see the protracted process of bluff, empty threats and escalating bribes, countered by Genesis' persistent and impassioned advocacy (thank you Genesis!), culminating in two of the policeman arguing amongst themselves about the division of the CFA15,000 that they'd just extorted from us. After eventually procuring my id from them, we left them to it.

On Sunday we went to the nearby town of Ekona to visit Marceline's parents. It was lovely to see them, as always, and Mum and Dad greatly enjoyed meeting some of the extended family. We played to traditional So-how-many-grandchildren-do-you-have-now? game, which Heather won (as usual), by correctly calculating 10 (up from 6 the day we arrived - impressive!)

Having glimpsed Camroon's Law enforcement agency in action, I thought it might be interesting for my parents to get a taste of the Health Care system, so I contrived to be bitten by Marceline's parents' neighbour's dog. We were stupidly trying to get a look at her new puppies; in a protective mood, she managed to tilt her head sideways and get her jaws entirely around my notoriously scrawny calf. It didn't bleed as such, but there were three teeth marks that drew spots of blood, so our thoughts naturally turned to the risk of rabies. The dog was a pet, and had been indoors having puppies, but hadn't been vaccinated since it was a puppy. This means that the risk of rabies infection is low, but worth worrying about. We returned to Buea and went to the local health centre, where Heather read me some of the entry of Rabies on our Healthy travel guide. Once a human shows symptoms of rabies, a slow and painfully death is assured: probably worth getting the jobs then.

I had a rabies jab, and also a tetanus jab, and was prescribed a course of antbiotics. We returned to the health centre the next morning to clarify the program for the rest of the rabies course (which turns out to be jabs on days 0, 3, 7 ,14, 30 and 90 and ten quid a pop, now where's our travel insurance company's email address?).

Having seen policing and health care the hard way, I copped out with education, did it the easy way: Sylvester is principal at a school, so he showed us around and let us observe him teach a class, which was all very interesting.

Later in the day we toured around Buea, visiting various places, including the tailors, where I picked up my suit, which I was very pleased with. After several attempts I've got exactly what I wanted in terms of cut and fit, which will allow me to look reet smart for my court appearance/open casket....

On a brighter note, it looks like our visas have been approved, and we will hopefully be in possession of then in the next day or so! This is handy, as after Saturday's debacle with road blocks (I got stopped on the way to the airport as well, though that occasion only took CFA2,000 to extricate myself from), we're not travelling until we get our passports back with valid visas attached.

Once we get them, Talbot Cultural Tours can hit the road once more...


Can I just add that I am wearing my suit daily to work and it fits well. The length is just right after I persuaded him to chop an inch off the legs.

I am impressed with all the trouble you have gone to , to welcome your Mum and Dad. DO hope you are all having a good time. Hope they see a bit of the real culture now.

Love to all

One of those days eh... well something to tell your grandshildren about.

I blame Ted, he is just a trouble-maker! Following Talbot Cultural Tours with great interest, and some trepidation.

Colin & Sue

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