I spent the last several days up in the transboundary area near Korup NP, where the Cameroon/Nigeria border is a leafy line in the forest, and where much more time than originally I thought was consumed by the bushmeat trade. That area is a non-stop flood of hunted meat traveling through villages, along rainforest roads and especially across the border into Nigeria...
The road to Yaoundé —
The day started in the dark a bit before 5am in Limbe, the urgency was impressed on me from everyone I spoke to, but most succinctly by Ivo my driver, "If we don't pass Douala by six we shall be stuck, so stuck, maybe two, three (wave of the hand) four hours." That began a seven and a half hour, three police stop, two truck crash, one coca-cola cannaiblization saga that terminated in one of the worst traffic messes in Yaoundé the capitol I have ever seen. But I'm writing about it, so I made it to my interviews (my next posting.)
Limbe, Cameroon — From what little of Cameroon I have seen in less than 24 hours, Douala is to be flown into and exited shortly there after. Limbe, on the other hand, eases up naturally on the senses. Nothing about the equatorial hot, humid confusion of Douala is inviting, nor the industrial confusion of the Bonabéri, the suburb lining the western side of the port. But 30 odd kilometers later, the minute you veer left at the split in the rural town of Mutengene (a town you apparently pass through and never stop — based on the diversity of thieves and their ways — trust me Ivo (Ivo Ngome, my driver and shadow for the next 30 days) gave me a running monologue about the dangers of this place including how the local thieves can hypnotize you and steal you blind, “even the police here are frightened, very frightened”) the thin tarmac road begins a gentle roller-coaster ride through green hills rowed in palm oil or banana. Between plantations tattered islands of remnant rainforest crest small hills and ravines, hints of what once was. Much of it is second growth forest, still, it reminds me there was once a lush rainforest sweeping over this landscape. Ivo, who grew up here, says it was always this way, always oil palms and rubber and bananas, “even from British times.” He is in his mid thirties, before him there was a different time.