36 things we can only do in Cameroon

1 – Being required to pay for drinks for everyone when its your birthday

2 – Using scary ladders made out of tree branches to take down high tech equipment

3 – Turn away a moto taxi driver because he’s drunk … or just getting on and tightening your helmet

4 – Watching people pooping on the side of the road

5 – Paying 500 francs ($1) for the baggage handlers on the bus to reserve the best seats and put hand luggage up – like you couldn’t actually do this yourself!

6 – Buying drugs directly from the pharmacy without a prescription

7 – Filling up your 100L of water reserves just in case – and thinking not just of showers but how much will be needed to flush the toilet

8 – Making sure your cellphone is always charged because who knows…after all, you can’t just charge your phone in the car!

9 – Waiting over a week for cooking gas to be delivered to a city of 200,000

10 – Taking 3-4 showers a day and still have a salt-crust covering your body

11 – Watching a guy change a lightbulb by putting it in his mouth first… why?

12 – Drinking 6 liters of water a day and peeing only once

13 – Watching the sweat stains spread over the sides of the laptop

14 – Watching ants drag dead cockroaches across the floor

15 – Going to a restaurant where 3 out of 4 friends get sick. Then going back again anyways. Many times.

16 – Have a 100 franc piece refused because it is worn/flat.  Being told that the coin has “lost its magic”.

17 – Riding with more than 3 people on a moto (NOT ME! NOT ME!)

18 – Accepting torn notes and immediately planning how you will manage to pass them on to someone else

19 – Sweating like mad while sitting on the back of a mototaxi whose driver is wearing a parka and wool hat

20 – Having kid stealing spoiled cookies out of the garbage… or simply asking us if we have garbage hoping there are some in there

21 – Supporting child labour: paying a 4 year old to fetch balls at the tennis court

22 – Listening to “medical advice” from a salesman on the bus

23 – Considering it a cold day when it is only 35 degrees outside

24 – Going to sleep without showering and waking up with wet hair

25 – Being asked if you want a plastic bag repeatedly at the market when you are obviously already using one

26 – Going to a restaurant and not bothering to look at the menu. Instead knowing just to ask: what is there today?

27 – Going to the corner shop and without saying a word and having them ask you: “Do you want TP again?”

28 – Discussing stomach and bowel issues with anyone, anywhere, anytime. And thinking that’s normal conversation.

29 – Not needing to wear a watch because you can tell time by the call to prayers

30 – Being chastised for wasting food because you don’t chew the chicken bones

31 – Being shocked/curious of other foreigners you don’t know in Maroua… who are they? Where are they from? Why aren’t they saying hello and coming over to make friends???

32 – Having to go by every market stall where you shop on a regular basis so no one gets mad at you

33 – Knowing when the fresh cheese from Petée is delivered… and getting there before the other foreigners buy it all

34 – Mistaking a real rooster crowing for the ring tone on your cellphone

35 – Drinking whiskey out of a small plastic bag

36 – Having to beware of walking past the men shovelling “stuff” out of the sewers onto the street – they’d rather work fast and don’t worry about hitting you with the, er, “stuff”.

~ by Greg Spira on June 9, 2010.

7 Responses to “36 things we can only do in Cameroon”

  1. Thank you,…I think.
    That last one was a real eye opener!

  2. You get fresh cheese?????

    • Only when the cows aren’t on strike! At least that’s our explanations for the availability problems… There used to be two places, but one of the dairies ran out of milk… Don’t know exactly how that happens either… Oh well.

  3. Made me laugh, again! Good thing you’ll only have another birthday in Cameroon, it could get really expensive. Don’t want you to lose your shirt as I’m told yours are getting worn out quickly…

  4. 37 – Collect an astonishing array of stories, experiences, and mental videos far beyond anything most of us at home can even imagine! Awesome list, Greg. (Is that grit in my teeth?)

  5. nice list you two! both hilarious and heartbreaking. #6 seems very practical. Magical Money!? will you need a case just to bring back “keepsake” coins?! … transaction chant “you’ve lost that lovin feelin” …
    stay well!

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