Not every city can be a winner. Douala isn’t.
It’s really dusty, for one. You feel the grit on your skin at all times. Also, I walked everywhere I went, and even that didn’t lead to much excitement.
Some cities just aren’t for me, and Douala wasn’t.
The lights in the airport weren’t even on for our arrival, but interestingly I had this note that my bag was the first one out. While waiting at passport control, I had a near-heart attack realizing that the embassy had given me a visa that started…tomorrow. Luckily, they didn’t look closely and just stamped me in.
My hotel had promised a shuttle to pick me up, I confirmed it thrice by email, and it of course wasn’t there. I really started freaking out when someone at the airport called the number in the email, and it said “invalid”. However, tons of people knew the hotel when I asked, and I’d gotten a recommendation for it from someone, so I trusted the taxi to take me there, and it was in fact still operating.
The front desk had no idea about the shuttle; the owner had never told them about the emails. Of course. Hotel Beausejour Mirabel – they’re open, but don’t trust the owner to tell the staff anything.
I marveled at the antiquated radio in the room, asked to change rooms because it was recently painted and was giving me headaches, and then I went out to explore.
I flagged down a taxi on the main street and asked him to take me to the only vegetarian restaurant in the city. Of course, we couldn’t find it, so he called, and they’re closed until after the New Year for some remodeling. The taxi driver told me “Chinese food is good for vegans, right? I’ll take you to a Chinese restaurant.” Sure.
In my broken French I was trying to remember from high school, I asked the taxi driver how much I’d need to pay, since we were going back in the direction we came from. We obviously miscommunicated, because I found him outside waiting for me after my slooowwww dinner. He thought he was supposed to wait and take me back to my hotel.
Dinner was also super weird. I was the only customer in a giant restaurant. I mentioned 3x that everything had to be “no meat, no eggs”, the food came with meat mixed in, and I heard the owner cussing out the waiter when I rejected the food. It was a catastrophe.
Exploring the city the next day was decent but not amazing. It was also super hot.
Over toward the government area.
I thought I could walk down this path to the bay coming in off the Atlantic, but that obviously wasn’t possible.
This house is obviously owned by someone rich.
From here, more walking. The things for sale were…interesting…
I saw some propaganda for their corrupt president and marveled at the MSG for sale at the supermarket.
I searched for an Indian restaurant (another vegan staple) for lunch and used their wifi to figure out what else I could do here, since I was already close to exhausting my ideas.
I found a mosque near an outdoor market that was supposed to be interesting and set off with a full belly.
I lost count of how many times I heard “Hey, white guy! Ey, le blanc!” walking through the market. I chuckled every time.
Not sure why this mosque wound up so highly rated on Trip Advisor. It was boring and plain. At least I had some good laughs at car stickers and other oddities along the way back.
I had passed the Church of Saints Peter & Paul earlier, but they were having church service, so I didn’t go in. I went in en route to my hotel.
I walked past the hotel and to some abandoned buildings.
I was up super early the next morning for my flight, and I was pretty happy to leave Douala. The Cameroon national team bus was at the airport, since the Africa Cup qualifying games were happening. I didn’t see any sign of them.
Some cities aren’t for everyone. Douala wasn’t for me.This entry was posted in Uncategorized