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Published: August 2nd 2012
I sat up front with Denise for the drive to the capital, Yaounde. Still being obsessed with 'The Meat Man', we found a good one for lunch, huddling close to try and stay out of the rain. It seemed to stop and Denise and I went looking for a bathroom when it began to pour. Within seconds we were soaked through, needing a change of clothes.
It was an easy drive along good roads and we were on the outskirts of Yaounde when a tyre burst. Pulling over, I jumped out to help Suse reverse a short distance to a petrol station where we could turn in and change it off the road.
The directions into town weren't overly helpful as there seemed to be several new roads to choose from. Taking a bit of a scenic route, we were trying to spot water towers and once we did, worked on trying to reach them. Eventually we found the large roundabout that Suse recognised and from there could work out where the mission was that we were staying at. Once there, we had to have the pastor remove some of the fence so we could fit through and pulled up near to a beautiful house that you'd expect to find in Australia or the likes. Tents were put up on the grass, taking into account that last time Suse stayed here, a man with Tourette's syndrome lived in the nearby house and slept outside every night.
We left for a walk down to the lively street we'd driven up earlier but before I could even get beyond the yard I fell in a ditch, hurting my knee. I didn't think too much of it and happily limped down to a local bar where we stopped for a beer and watched the world go by. Cameroon is definitely shaping up to be one of my favourites!
A man with Tourette's did indeed sleep outside the nearby house and that combined with the throbbing pain in my knee meant I had a sleepless night. Jareb wanted to get a blood test to see if anything was up as he wasn't feeling 100% so together with Maurice the pastor and Susannah the pastor's wife, we headed for the clinic. We picked up a doctor and went to his house as the wait at the clinic could be as long as four hours and the doctor was Susannah's nephew. Jareb's blood was drawn and sent off to the lab and we walked to the main road to take a taxi to get me an x-ray. I didn't feel I needed one but the doctor told me to and at $USD10, I figured I might as well. I'd brought a knee brace with me (for those who don't know, I've had operations on both my knees already) and was wearing it in an effort to avoid too much movement.
I'd said I was okay to walk, rather than have to wait for a taxi in the quiet backstreets and down we went along a most bizarre street. It looked like an earthquake had ripped through it, with crevices deep and wide enough for me to stand in!
There were several people waiting for x-rays and we settled in to wait also. We learnt that the doctor assisting us had worked a night shift and hadn't yet slept and I felt bad that he had to waste his day with us. The results took minutes once the x-ray had been taken and as expected, nothing showed up. Anti-inflammatories were picked up while the rest of us sat and had a drink and we returned to camp by taxi. The doctor gave me a shot in the bum (which hurt like hell) and then proceeded to 'massage' my knee. More like rub the living daylights out of it and I thought I was going to be sick from the pain! He was ruthless and I disliked him immensely and left to go and sulk in my tent.
I'd been hoping to sleep but failing that, Susannah had mentioned a masseuse who was very good and when I said I was interested she gave her a call. I sat on the grass outside the truck with the others while I waited and then had an hour of absolute bliss, it probably being one of the best massages ever. If I could have, I probably would've stayed for a second hour but as it was, dinner was ready and I went to eat instead.
Yesterday was absolute crap. We were to be up and at breakfast for 8am so we could fill in paperwork for our Gabon visa and when I went to get my money from my bag, I realised it was gone. This was not long after Talbot said he couldn't find his bag and we realised we'd been robbed.
Long story short, Talbot and I went to the police station with Carlos who translated everything for us. Police came out to look at where we were staying but couldn't search the nearby houses so... Yeah. I've lost my hard drive with all my photos from the trip, my small camera, memory cards, money, credit cards, iPod and a tonne of other bits and pieces. I'm absolutely devastated. I have insurance for everything but that won't replace my photos which is all I want back. They mean nothing to anyone else except me. Feeling extremely sorry for myself.
We delayed our departure by a day so Talbot and I could wait for the police report. After spending the day running back and forth to the police station and trying to shop for the next couple of weeks while we're free camping, my head is ready to explode. Had a lovely meal at an Asian restaurant run by an American guy that Justice and Cecilia had met a few days early but it was hard to switch off.
Then when we were back at camp, Toby came running down the street towards us. Britt had come across an older couple with my bag that they'd found in a nearby field. It was empty when they found it but it was odd because the field seemed to be in almost constant use and we'd searched there when I first realised it was missing. We searched again and I'm so grateful for everyone that's helped us look but nothing turned up. In fairness, I didn't expect there to be anything but it was worth a try.
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