Showing posts from July, 1998

Zimbabwe: What's Cooking Restaurant, Masvingo

Uncertain of the time because my watch has tragically ceased to function. Good few days. Bulawayo's a very nice little city. Train journey's about as cheap & comfortable as your average backpacker lodge - makes you wonder if it'd be smart to just spend your whole time shuttling from city to city on overnight train. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Saturday the 25th, drove off with the Possum medical students in Mike's (old Rhodesian) minivan to see granite outcroppings, Bushmen paintings, little villages and old ruins. Caves like gouges in a rock wall, with 25,000-year-old paintings still etched on the wall. Got lost trying to find ruins and came upon a lonely rondavel with solar panel & TV antenna. Returned for dinner, went downtown, saw movie - THE ASSIGNMENT - returned. Sunday, loitered for awhile, went to the National Gallery only to find that it was closed, so walked to the pleasant Botanical Gardens and spent the afternoon there, returned to Possum, pa

Zimbabwe: Scoops, Avondale Plaza

What a long strange eleven days it's been. Zimbabwe is a different world from West Africa: orderly, organized, wide clean streets, buses not tro-tros, shopping malls not markets, teeming with backpackers and Europeans. Spent my last couple days in Douala just wandering about, blowing the rest of my CFA on food & drink, warning (via email) of my impending Zimbabweness, writing/sending postcards, etc. Met a nice Nigerian guy with an EE degree and talked shop while the Cameroonian web cafe operator blustered outrageous demands for money. Saw CONGO and half of ADDICTED TO LOVE, in French. Stayed at a "missionaries-only" hostel run by a nice but sadly Parkinson's-ridden priest. Ate brochettes and drank real coffee. Thurs. the 16th, taxied to low-hassle airport and waited 'til we were called, when the chaos ensued. First there was no one to exit-stamp our passports, then the guy who arrived went a little stamp-crazy. The security guards were having a keg party in th

Cameroon: Holly Wood Snack Bar, Limbe

The truck is dead, long live the truck. A line of soldiers just filed past, on the main road: surreal. I'm sitting with "American," self-appointed tourist agent, who unlike most s-a.t.a. seems an honest, nice, reliable guy. In 72 hours, if all goes to plan, I'll be in Harare. A ray of sunlight lights up a patch of Limbe's green. Equatorial Guinea, above a bank of clouds and below the streaks of a sunset, a faraway dreamscape. Mount Cameroon behind Mile Six Beach with the waves battering me as I look. Slept four-in-a-(huge)-bed at the Mountain Hotel and set out, found a guide, changed money, bought food, went back and read and waited out the day impatiently. Up at 5 AM for the climb, surprising the assault-rifle-and-German-shepherd-armed hotel security guy, and set out while it was still dark. The climb: gruelling work, from before dawn to after dusk, as physically arduous a day as I can remember. Chong and I never doubted we'd make it, but Ali & Andrea got

Cameroon: Mountain Hotel, Buea

In the lap of luxury, with Mount Cameroon above. Fantastic place: cool mountain temperature, green lawns, hot bath, ornately comfortable sitting room where I write this, and a swimming pool. OK, the pool water is opaque with muck, but you can't have everything. Buea is a very spread-out town: taxis are required. I like Cameroon a lot. Relaxed, cafe culture, many police checks but they're generally perfunctory, green countryside, nice and so-far bilingual people. So: hated Calabar at first, but warmed to it considerably. Paradise City Hotel is a dilapidated but charming complex: snack bar, mini-zoo, nightclub, bar, hotel, grounds, etc. Moped taxis to and from and around town. Just watched the World Cup the first night. Next day, moped'd to town to change money, an epic journey: walked an hour through Calabar's winding streets, to a bureau de change that no longer exists, asked at a plush restaurant and wound up following a 300-pound woman around town on moped to a black