Tchinga

Day 4 – March 29, 2016

The mosquitoes in Cameroon are stealth bombers on steroids. I did not see or hear them but at 3:30 am (when I usually get up to pee), I begin to feel the incredible itch from about five different bites. Huge bites oh! Man! And I had slept under a net!

Anyway, I finally manage to fall asleep again but I’m up too soon which turns out to be a good thing because I have to get ready to visit Tchinga.

Tchinga is an arts and crafts market. It’s much smaller than the several available in Abuja, but there are some really nice things that I haven’t seen before. I pick up a few as gifts, quite certain that the people they are meant for would not exactly be pleased. Somehow, I don’t care. Ahahahaha! (Am I a good person?) I also get some usual suspects: things made from cloth and things made from leather. The leather goods are unbelievably stinky but you get the drift, I don’t care.

I do the office and school runs with my friends’ family and then their driver helps me with some of the bargaining at Tchinga, but not so much. It appears that I’m good at beating down prices in four languages: English, Pidgin English, French and Hausa. I use all of them at Tchinga!

An aside: I had weighed myself on the way out this morning: I’m down two and half kilogrammes! Much cause for celebration, if you ask me.

After souvenir shopping, the driver takes me to a spot where I can photograph some aerial views of the capital. It is amazing! Photo session over, we drive back to the house and I update my Facebook cover page, make a cup of tea, and work on Monday’s journal entry. I’m tired, I can’t write a word. Also, the idea for a story floats in my head. Writing my journal might have blown away the wisps of dialogue that were gaining corporeal in my mind. I may start writing it today.

CAVEAT

: I seem to have misplaced the photographs from this day, including the ones of the city that I took from the view at Palais de Congres. If I ever find them, I’ll update this post. In the mean time…

On the way back home, I notice an urbain foret, a.k.a. an urban forest, which I think is just brilliant! It isn’t a green area like the ones in ABJ which have become outdoor bars. It is an actual forest (albeit, a small one), populated with some large trees. Sure, there is a flower sales guy: pots and plants laid out for sale, but mostly real trees.

Speaking of green, I had noticed a petrol station called Green Oil. I had a good laugh at that! If those cars aren’t being run on olive oil, ain’t nothing green about that oil.

Another Aside: Have I told you about the crows? They are everywhere. Massive things. Even on the beach. I do not see a single seagull, but I see those crows, man. Also…the cows here are mostly brown.

While still digesting lunch (yam, aubergine sauce, an awesome bread roll from Moulin de France and fruit), M. and I went shopping (this is around 6 pm). The shop is mostly a butchery (ew, the smell of dead animal!). I get my latest addiction, Pain d’epices avec fondant, and a pack of my old one, Haribo. Just because it’s Haribo in another country, you understand. Later that night, even as I ate it, I told myself that I am highly malnourished and have to stop eating this nonsense.

We go to another shop where I get Cameroonian coffee. I have to get one of those stove top percolators. I’ve been promising myself one for almost a decade. Anyway, I freak out the sales attendant a little by peering at the coins  me with that were my change with such a keen interest. M. laughs and explains that I am “une touriste”. My friend and I then spend a few minutes discussing the possibility of unicorns in Cameroon (yes, seriously) and teasing (not to his hearing) a somewhat good-looking member of the beard gang who had helped us with our parking (arriving and departing). “Maybe, you have a toaster,” she says. “He’s a fake toaster,” I reply, “Just sitting in his car. Unlike a Naija guy who…well, maybe Naija guys are a little too brave,” I say. She laughs and tells me that the men here will toast a pregnant, married woman! A short while later, an old man who can barely talk approaches us as we buy brochettes (suya to my Nigerian folk). She summarily (and yet politely) dismisses him. I thought he even wanted to beg for money when he opened with “It’s always good to meet fellow English speakers!” LOL!

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