Day 5 – March 31, 2016
I must not be a very well person. At the least, I’m not fit. My heart is pounding so hard; I think I might throw up. Yeah, I haven’t hiked in…over a year, but still…This reaction frightens the lazy out of me. I even forget to be afraid of heights (well, sometimes). A couple of times I have to tell myself, “One foot in front of the other, Mickey, that’s how it’s done.” Once, while on a ledge, I feel myself begin to sway. Somehow, I make it to the other side without tumbling into the bush. Another time, I imagine myself rolling downhill. The smile that comes to my face is my confirmation that I’m okay. Today’s hike and my days at the beach might just mean that I am no longer suicidal. Not once have I felt the urge to hurl myself off a precipice. I smile as I write this. I’m at Le Hippique Club, a horse-riding establishment founded in 1981. I’ve just come back from a brief tour of the stables with my friends’ day time nanny, R. and one of their sons O. The horses have hilarious names like Sheytan and Cognac; and cute ones like Mansour and Soleil. Mostly kids are brushing coats and cleaning hooves. I think to myself: My kids should ride horses.
I understand some sort of backtrack is necessary: This morning, my friends’ driver, J.M., took me to meet the Guide Bela for a tour in the forest. We met the guide and drove a bit more until we got to the start point of our path. Bela speaks zero English, but somehow, I managed with my barely there French to communicate. When he said something too quickly, I asked him to break it down piece by piece. An hour later, I huffed and puffed my way back to the car, sans one sole of M.’s trainers, which J.M. could be fixed. I promised myself that I would get in shape: swimming, walking and Zumba. I told myself that adventurers are fit and if I want to have adventures, I have to be physically ready for them. PS: M. and I went for a Zumba class run by a Nigerian. I didn’t dance though, my workout clothes were in the wash from the hike, and I was dressed up for an eventually cancelled evening out at the Goethe.
In a slightly unpleasant turn of events, Bela, the guide, then requested for double the usual amount charged for the tour. He had taken the money from me without question but had apparently told the driver he wanted more money. J.M. relayed the message and I told him I wouldn’t be paying more. I had already added a “dash” on the usual rate and besides, C. had told me how much the tour would cost (He regularly sends friends who visit from outside Cameroon to take the tour). I suppose Bela doesn’t understand customer relations.
But the plot thickened: C. called Bela to tell him off (the driver informed him of the passe at the hill). Bela then alleged that I had said C. was going to pay the difference. Ahahahaha! Quelle nonsense? To quote M., “in which French would you have had that conversation?” Walahi!
Once I got home, I collapsed on my bed, stinking of sweat and begging myself to shower. After a long, cool shower and shampoo, I fell asleep until shortly before lunch. I made progress on The Cairo Trilogy and then ate. Tried to sleep again but it was almost impossible as the kids seemed restless. Unsurprisingly, R. announced she was taking the kids out. I tagged along, initially thinking it was a trip to the market, but the Hippique turned out to be much better and much more relaxing than a rowdy marche.
Postscript: A thyroid function test taken a few months after the events of this post turned up some interesting results. I am sure to blog a series on that experience!