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?