Thursday, March 03, 2005

"I know, let's go to....cameroon?"

I have somehow, God knows how, convinced my co-workers to accompany me to the backend of all places: Douala, Cameroon. On a holiday. Meaning for “leisure”. The funny thing is I never intended to go to such a place, deemed by Lonely Planet as “The Armpit of Africa.”
I just wanted to test my sales skills, and see if I could actually make people excited about going to a place that swarms with cerebral malaria, an active slave trade, hepatitis, guerrilla warfare and that borders Nigeria and a very arbitrary country called Chad.

And I just did. I’ve actually convinced my colleagues to join me for a long weekend in Douala in November, and now I actually have to bloody well go. Jo is so excited she is actually researching Douala on Google right now. Khali is phoning her boyfriend as we speak, asking him to come to Douala with us.

I am actually going to piss myself if I’m not careful.

Khali: “You’re coming to Douala. It’s [the back-end of hell] not exactly the French Riviera, but it’s only R600 return flight! Can you believe it?”
Jacques (the boyfriend): Um, I’m busy that weekend.
Khali: “But it’ll be such fun!”
Jacques: Oh…ok. I guess.

Oh the little things that entertain! This childish banter! How am I going to tell these enthusiastic people I’m only kidding, because I am conducting a human sales experiment??

I even told them the bad stuff about Douala, like when a volcano erupted there in 1986 and “asphyxiated 2 000 people in their sleep. Scientists believe that this may reoccur at any time.” And that people are often taken hostage by rebels. But the upside is that we can walk through a real rainforest [yes! You heard it! A REAL RAINFOREST!], we can see gorillas…or guerrillas either way, and sit and sip Earl Grey on the terrace of a super-colonial hotel whose name eludes me.
Another contentious issue is that we’d fly Cameroon Airlines. Meaning we may never actually see Douala.

I have told Steve that I’m booking him a flight to “a very exotic place where people speak French.” Poor guy is going to get one helluva fright when we land in Douala instead of Paris.

Eight people want me to book flights to this proverbial “Armpit of Africa/Sewer” this month. How hilarious is that?

23 comments:

Two | Face said...

WOEHAHAHAHA!!!!

What a stunt, why not do it? What an adventure that will be, if my status was different I would go. Take a camera with!!! I want to see pictures of your face when you step out of the airport.

Peas on Toast said...

m0r, I haven't stopped laughing-inwardly of course-because the thought is hysterical. You're right, a definite adventure it would be. We wuldn't go for the scenery. And you can bet that I'm going to take millions of photos if this actually does happen. I wouldn't miss taking photos of The Armpit of Africa for anything. :) :):) :) :)

Ed Abbey said...

Has anything ever happened in Chad since the naming of the country to Chad? I just get this mental picture of Chad being as blank as a piece of paper because there is never any news over here on Chad. Maybe some fellow named Chad named the area and then left for better places? Did they hang Chad? (Florida voting pun!)

Peas on Toast said...

It's funny you say that Ed, because it is possibly the most random name and place in the rold. CHAD. Who calls a country Chad for Pete's sake? And it is as blank as a sheet of paper. Hauling out the atlas, shows that Chad is basically desert. It lies squat in the middle of the Sahara, and consists of just falt sand and one large lake, called....Lake Chad. Swear to God. The guy who names the place must have the imagination of a yak. I don't even see any cities anywhere. Not one. (?) It's completely bizarre.

This is just too exciting. :)

Two | Face said...

What would be kewl is to have a picture standing next to a giant deoderanr spray can! HAHAHAHAHA

I only once decided to go out in Germany for a night as a silly thing. My friends asked me where we would go that evening and I said well let's go to Germany, so we took the train and I swear that was one of the best nights out I ever had.

Peas on Toast said...

A giant deoderant spray can?? Huh?? Ok mrarty, I'll...see what I can do.

Yes it's the spontaneity of things that make them fun. And Douala isn't something we've thought through. Making it the most spantaneously living-on-the-edge decision ever!!

Two | Face said...

Armpit of Africa -> Deoderant spray?

Just as long as you guys are careful, I would recommend going online te get some more info. Why would tickets be so cheap?

Peas on Toast said...

Ohhhhhhhh. Sorry a slow on the uptake today. I reckon tickets are cheap because nobody wants to go there. I've just checked out Cameroon on the Internet and apparently the civil war there is no longer. Long may it last....

Binsk said...

Wow...that sounds fun! Make sure to take lots of pics of the armpit of Africa, your Canadian bloggy friend needs a visual!

matchbox said...

oh deary me - i do things like that all the time..maybe not to that extent but hey i manage to piss myself off on a regualr basis. As for cutting him out - yea but i see him all the time cos we have the same mates, but then i am trying to drift away from them, esp now with the housemate sit. Although i havent seen him for like 2 weeks and have no intention on doing so for another 10 and a hlaf until i have lost the stone i gained during the breakup and can see him without my stomach tying into knots - which will happen just given time!!!hope your doing ok xxx

Blog ho said...

That is divine..and evil. I'm laughing at your poor friends and glad I'm not one of them ;)

Nettie said...

Your American friends need pics too! Do they really call it the Armpit of Africa, or did you just make that up? Cause the people I knew from Cameroon never said anything about that....

Peas on Toast said...

Robin - I'll post my pics left right and centre, promise!

Matchbox - break ups are hard to do. I also lost a mound of weight, the good part after my ex and I called it quits. It'll get better, promise.

Blog hO - Would you like to come with us to Douala?? Flights may be more expensive your side, but hey I'm sure it'll be worth it ;)

Nettie - you'll see pics too, promise. I'd like to say I made up "Armpit of Africa," but I didn't. It was the Lonely Planet Guide that called it that. I think it's pretty funny. Sounds like quite a place :)

Two | Face said...

Good morning!

Found you a Hotel:

http://www.lemeridien.com/cameroon/douala/hotel_cm1683.shtml

Shopping:

http://rgmjapan.tripod.com/SHOPPINGCAM.html

Nightlife:

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Africa/Cameroon/Littoral_Province/Douala-1948477/Nightlife-Douala-BR-1.html

More on Douala:

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Africa/Cameroon/Littoral_Province/Douala-1948477/TravelGuide-Douala.html

Peas on Toast said...

Mrarty - you are a star! Thank you! We were actually talking about the club scene there. We're thinking if the city is the Armpit, what the f*ck is the nightclub? It must absolutely HONE. Also, if this thing actually pulls itself off - you're welcome to come along :)

Paperslut said...

Chad! It's like naming a country Chris, or Jake, or something.

PS. you're right. The Far Side is quite the shit!

Peas on Toast said...

The guy who does The Far Side - Gary Larson? Must be one of the greatest genuises of all time. He's probably really introverted and has an extreme case of agoraphobia, but he definately knows how to do cartoons. I have all his books at home.

And you're right. Calling a country Chad is like calling it John or William. It's just a joke really.

Two | Face said...

Well thank you for your offer but as I said earlier my status doesn't really provide me with such freedom.

By the way the shops and everything are closed on sundays there eh, so better make it a long weekend.

Peas on Toast said...

Uh yes, it sounds like we may have to take certain supplies. Like rice, extra sanitary items, large quantities of staunch liquor and the like.

On Sunday, we may have to sit on the banks of the Wouri River (the river-cum-effluent channel that runs through the city) and get hopelessly drunk and toast to the fact that we're sitting in a proverbial Armpit. It's just so random, isn't it.

Oh and next time mrarty - if we should ever, in a million years, go back to Douala, you're coming!

Peas on Toast said...

Uh yes, it sounds like we may have to take certain supplies. Like rice, extra sanitary items, large quantities of staunch liquor and the like.

On Sunday, we may have to sit on the banks of the Wouri River (the river-cum-effluent channel that runs through the city) and get hopelessly drunk and toast to the fact that we're sitting in a proverbial Armpit. It's just so random, isn't it.

Oh and next time mrarty - if we should ever, in a million years, go back to Douala, you're coming!

Two | Face said...

Well maybe there will be tickets to the South Pole for R550, on such ocassions count me in!

Did you actually check if you need certain shots?

matchbox said...

indeed oh well these things happen its just gotta be healthy healthy healthy! then when i do see him eventually il have my confidence back. Its so weird women mourn men like a death and they seem to just get on with it. Then as soon as you are over it and doing good they want you back. This love stuff really sucks!Hope your not dreading your trip to the armpit of afirca 2 much!!!

Two | Face said...

Hey have a great weekend!