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To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live. - Hans Christian Andersen

17 August 2019, Ambam to Ebolowa, 97.7km
Grand Bazar du Lac 15,000CFA (R375)


What do you do when accosted by an egotistical, aggressive drunk man with power? Apologise.
On the outskirts of one of many villages through which we cycled on this overlong day, I got off the bike on an incline. As I did so, a man walking toward me on the opposite side of the road, dressed in tan shorts and a blue and cream striped T-shirt, began yelling at me. He crossed the road, and took hold of my bike, preventing me from proceeding. I was unsettled, of course, but not unduly anxious as I could see Charl approaching from behind. The man kept yelling and holding onto my bike. Neither of us could understand what he was saying, and when we finally managed to make this clear to him, he let go of the bike and turned to walk with us through the village, complaining endlessly about something or other. That he was not sober was obvious, so as soon as the incline flattened out a little, we got back on the bikes and cycled away from him, thinking that would be the end of it.
Several kms further on, he reappeared having cadged a ride on an autocycle. Lots more yelling with several others now in attendance, and one or two tasked with translating. Turned out the dude was the “chef du village” and felt we had disrespected him in some way. It really was not clear what I should have done differently when I first saw him - he looked like any other man strolling the road, most of whom I greet as a matter of course, though I could not remember specifically whether I had greeted him.
One of the young man trying to translate, explained to him, following my lead, that we were strangers in town, tourists newly arrived with little knowledge of the customs prevailing in Cameroonian villages.
In the end he checked Charl’s passport, then smiled, shook hands, and wished us “Bon voyage”. A couple an an autocycle who had been witness to the event, passed us a little later, shouting out “Thank you”. My guess is they were embarrassed by the chef’s behaviour and grateful to us for not escalating the incident!
At a softdrink stop we met a woman aged 104. She whipped off her woolen beanie to show us her yellow-grey hair, and performed a little dance to show us how fit she was still, and waved her arm at all those assembled on the balcony, proclaiming them to be her family.
After yesterday’s police stops, we were worried that Cameroon would prove a tad more bureaucratic than the other countries through which we have passed to date, but the officials at two police stops encountered today simply ignored us as we cycled through with a cheerful greeting, carefully avoiding the narrow nail-studded planks thrown across the road to prevent motorists speeding past.
We are constantly amazed at the level of noise in shops and bars and restaurants. Quite often, both a TV and radio will be blaring, with customers shouting to make themselves heard above the din. Today I had to tell a young woman to turn her radio off as the shopkeeper and I tried unsuccessfully to communicate of the tinny cacophony.
We bit off more than we could comfortably chew today, especially in hilly terrain. By the time we reached Ebolowa, we were exhausted and very distressed, therefore, that our chosen hotel on the south-side of the city was fully booked. “Désolé”, said the receptionist. The next hotel we tried advertised wifi and a restaurant, neither of which were available. So we continued through the mania of a Saturday evening, finally finding a home on the edge of a lake, imaginatively named Lac Municipal. Our first floor room sports really thick burglar bars, though the window is inaccessible from the outside. Charl reckons they are to prevent guests leaping from the window, frustrated at the slowness of the wifi.

For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above…


Leaving Ambam
Leaving Ambam
Leaving Ambam
Leaving Ambam
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
Ambam to Ebolowa
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