Limbe & Beaches, Cameroon, December 27 - 29, 2007

Trip Start Sep 19, 2007
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Trip End Jan 05, 2008


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Where I stayed
Semey New Beach Resort

Flag of Cameroon  ,
Sunday, December 30, 2007

Limbe is a large beach and port town a short distance west of Douala.  The town is located on the slopes of 13,000 foot (4,000 meter) high Mount Cameroon, where lava flows from West Africa's highest mountain reach the sea.  We saw impressive sub-peaks and the slopes of the supposedly perfectly cone-shaped peak, but the summit was always obscured from view by clouds during our three days in the region.  Time limitations and my interest in spending some time on the beach also kept me from undertaking the popular trek to Mount Cameroon's summit, an adventure I'll have to leave for my next visit to the country. 
The landscape around Limbe is a pretty one with some still forested areas amidst the endless rows of oil palms, beautiful trees with fruits that produce the main cooking oil used in many tropical parts of the world, an oil so high in saturated fat that it makes butter and lard look like health foods.  Also unique are the Limbe area's volcanic black sand beaches.  I've read about them in other places, but this was the first time I actually saw a black sand beach. 
Limbe is also only a rather short distance as the crow flies from Calabar, Nigeria, a trip that took us well over a week via a circuitous land route on terrible roads.  There is an overnight ferry that runs several times a week between the two, however, a travel possibility chosen by two members of our group (Dave and Gretchen) for whom drill monkeys and digging Daphne out of the mud had no appeal. 
We stayed at Semey New Beach resort, a fairly posh beachside hotel compound about ten miles west of town where the expensive hotel rooms were not in my budget range.  So I and my impoverished or fellow skinflint travelers camped around the truck in the grassy parking lot, only to have to move our tents into a close huddle in one corner so affluent weekend day trippers from Yaounde and Douala to park their Toyota 4Runners and other SUVs.  I think I spent at least half and hour the morning after our arrival trying to shave off a week's worth of wiry beard growth with my last two disposable razors, an endeavor I'd compare to trying to cut copper wire with a butter knife.  I was afraid the razors would become completely useless before I was done, and I'd end up with clumps of whiskers in funny shapes on various parts of my face (very stylish in some parts, I suppose).  Perhaps it was time to try a Fu Manchu for the first time or maybe a goatee again if I had planned it out better
The smart thing to do might have been to suffer through a week's worth of beard growth for a few more hours and get treated professionally.  Later in the day I had a 500 CFA (about $1.10) haircut at a little roadside box in town and could have gotten a shave for a pittance more rather than spend my morning abusing my face with dull disposable razors.  "You know how to cut white hair," I asked the barber.  "Oh, yes sir, welcome!  Please come in and have a seat!" he said as he directed his little fan to blow right in my face to cool me down in the stiflingly still late afternoon air in his little box. 
We had two full days with little to do but relax on the beach, frolic in the waves, and head into town for a wander around, although the only real sights in Limbe are a small botanical garden and adjacent museum.  But the succulent white meat fish called Bar that the seaside restaurants all grill and serve whole are absolutely delicious, especially when washed down with a few cold Castel beers.  Of course, most group members were still worried that "it's not safe to be out in town at night" and returned to the beach camp at dusk, leaving only Richard and me to eat fish and drinks beers in the seaside cafes. 
It was in Limbe that I watched as love break out among several members of the group.  I find it strange that people who have been together for weeks or months would wait until the last few days of the trip to finally start having "sexy times" together, as if saying, "What the hell.  Only a few days left so might as well have some fun since there are no repurcussions if it doesn't work out."  I, however, remained as pure and chaste as always during my travels, and couldn't help but think, "Why don't I ever get any sexy times?  It's just not fair!"
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