Here is the concluding part of my trip to Cameroon for Monday night’s game against Nigeria. You may have to read up the first part to follow, if you have not.
(contd. from yesterday)….
I luckily slept comfortably well for about four hours and woke to a congested atmosphere. We were less than 20 in all waiting to cross the border before I slept and I was very sure it would increase over the night, but not up to what I saw.
Members of the Nigerian Football Supporters Club, led by its eternal President-General (maybe I should call him factional PG now) Rafiu Ladipo arrived in the middle of the night at the border to contest for sleeping places with my innocent colleagues.
Well, I woke up about 4:10am and started preparing to make our way out. We spoke with Ladipo on some issues (I have some work on that already) and we left the Nigerian end of the border just after 5am.
We had a smooth stamping at the Cameroonian end and everything at the Bureau de change went well. Many of my hungered colleagues found some biscuits and expired Viju Milk products to buy (I can’t laugh) but I basically don’t eat when on a trip to avoid stories that touch the heart so I moved on.
At this point, it was of immense advantage that we were as many as nine Nigerian journalists inside one vehicle. It helped in avoiding some unfair fees on the road.
The road from Ekok – Border town- to Bamenda was very good although with an incredible number of bends (my Osogbo-Ilesa dey learn work), but on getting to Bamenda, you see quite the real Cameroon of poor, narrow roads.
We’ve been warned that after 10am, no vehicle moves to Yaounde again so we tried as much to beat that, arriving there about 9:48am. Unfortunately, it was about late. Our kind driver from the border drove us from one park to the other but there was no luck.
When it seemed we got success though, members of my crew decided on a supposed shorter and less stressful trip but it turned out to be the exact opposite.
Instead of joining the luxurious bus heading straight to Yaounde (6hrs) , we decided to split the journey and go to Bafusa first (2hrs) then move from there to Yaounde (4hrs).
We went that way, left Bamenda at 10:43am and arrived Bafusa at 12:58pm. We hoped to join the bus heading to Yaounde at 2pm and were conned into believing so, but we found out we would wait for the 4pm bus. Today na today!
Left with no other choice than to wait, it was indeed good that the bus heading for Yaounde left at exactly 16:00hrs. But while it was the most comfortable trip we’ve had for over 24 hours, it was the most annoying. Funny
Why? Many of us thought it was a 3-hour trip or maximum just over 3 hours having spent two hours to Bafusa from Bamenda but eh! We got to Yaounde at 9:05pm. FIVE solid hours inside the bus without stopping over at any point.
What made it annoying was the expectation. We kept whispering to ourselves “hope dem know say na Yaounde we dey go, nor be Chad o”.
Well, arrival in Yaounde wasn’t the end of the journey but locating a decent and suitable hotel. My good friend Tobi Adepoju who arrived with the Eagles in the morning had told me many of the hotels are actually substandard.
The most interesting thing was taking a cab from the Generale Voyage to an unknown Hotel and we didn’t get there for about an hour. Our Formula 1 Driver missed the road and if not for a Police Checkpoint where we were asked for our international passports, we would have lost it completely.
The other members of the contingent in another taxi came to rescue us although the Policeman kept us entertained with the analysis of Friday’s match and how “Mozez is a bad man” talking of MVP in Friday’s game Victor Moses.
I wasn’t happy because I couldn’t work, cut out of internet connections and what kept ringing in my mind was what to ask who in an interview session. Well, there was nothing I could do to change it and I complain less about such situations.
It was stressful but very enjoyable to me and the presence of LMC Videographer John Paul Nnamdi who acted as our translator, his fairly good command of French language was handy.
I’ll be here for more tomorrow on the Match Day activities as my enjoyment in Yaounde started.