Howdy all, and it’s that time of the week where I delve into the old diary, taking you back to 2011 and my time in Cameroon. The Ring Road and Bamenda are sadly an area of Cameroon that is not doing the best these days, with fighting and possible genocide a big issue for this part of such a beautiful country. In 2011 it was a very agreeable region to visit. Very sad what has happened now. Keep in mind as you read that travel such as I was lucky enough to enjoy is not possible now and that the people who live in this region face danger simply because of the language they speak. In this entry I visit a little town called ‘Bali’ where the local leader/King of the area (called a ‘Fon’) lived.
Day Eleven 3rd July 2011
Here I am in the lovely Bamenda. It doesn’t seem much here on this postcard but the Hills are rolling and green and this place seems to have a reasonable amount of wealth.
We’re in the heart of English speaking Cameroon not a great night sleep again. Did some clothes’ washing – put them out on our balcony which reveals a beautiful green hill! Nila lost a shirt to the balcony below and had to get one of the staff here to collect it for her! We had lunch, skipping breakfast. At the hotel restaurant where I suspect we might eat a lot whilst in Bamenda. Just a simple napolitana but it served.
We got a minibus to Bali motor park (motor park where vans left for Bali, a town in the hills) paying too much for it. It turned out transport now left from elsewhere our Moto driver either couldn’t work out our plan to go to Bali instead thinking we wanted to hang at the dusty motor park or he saw a way to wrangle an extra 200 CFA from us which he did so into the Bush taxi for in the back end to in the front yes just like in Benin.
Thankfully it was (only) a 15-minute journey to the main intersection of the cool little village we both liked. We went up the road to the Palace of the local Fon – a local word for King. We passed statues of 3 past Fons and two memorials for the first font of this area and his mother that brought the Fondom to the region around valley. The palace was up a small hill with a concrete square outside and a large tree in the middle of the square a few kids were playing football with a tennis ball. Rhe palace was behind a wall outside were murals of animals a Tiger (despite not being an African animal). This is the Fon’s chosen mascot and then we wandered inside – a little apprehensively perhaps, when we were greeted by a girl claiming to be a Princess!
We waited around a sign that said reception or something she said she then couldn’t find the receptionist so we waited. A man and his wife appeared they told us that everyone was at prayers, and could we come back tomorrow? We weren’t sure but we didn’t want to. We were resigned. Suddenly a man appeared claiming to be the receptionist. His name was Emmanuel and he made us part with 3500 CFA each which we fancy was too much by half it turns out though that the man we met earlier was in fact ‘His Majesty’ the third fan of Bali! Yes, finally I have met royalty – or should I say royalty has met me now?
The tour around the palace was interesting. Paintings of past Fons yet none of the Fonz – should have asked if he was any relation! More tigers, lions and elephants – Oh my! He has a number of Thrones and a number of wives – 18 in fact! We were told the one was German now living back in Germany with their kids and came back to Bali every few years maybe yes or did she just decide with this lifestyle was not for her I wonder how a wife would go about divorcing a Fon?
I used the toilet – it wasn’t in the best condition really what can I say there was a broken window! In the palace even the head honcho doesn’t get perfect conditions! He has lots of reception areas for other Fons and government ministers. It appears they all work together in some sort of collaborative effort Cameroon and elections are on later this year I believe.
The tour took us now through the town it is an awesome place with and you sense of community there was a funeral on in town somewhere and we could hear guns being shot into the air and then the cartridge falling on the roofs. Emmanuelle showed us the this shell of a never completed 72 room house maybe 50-60 years old covered in vegetation. It was not allowed to be finished because it would have been bigger than the Fon’s residence – yes it is a very hierarchical system!
He took our emails I gave him Yahoo don’t really want him emailing me but hey he put us in a shared taxi to Bamenda and we want to went to the intersection – called chemist roundabout or something. I watched a quiz show on our ever getting worse TV reception wise – same for the whole hotel. Then I spent too long and too much energy trying to kill mosquitoes I got a lot but there were even more like 25 or 30 maybe well the door was open in the evening then I attempted sleep.
Thanks for reading today! More to come so stay tuned! May the Journey Never End!