Thursday, July 4th– American Independence in Cameroon!
I had a great day in the field this morning, and then took the rest of it off to celebrate and explore Bamenda. Titus took me to Upstation, the highest point to look out over Bamenda (which has a population of 1 million). Although he said we would take a taxi, once he learned I like to trek he decided to have us walk up to the top… a total of 2 hours on the way up! His friend, Hansen, joined us along the way and after the taxi ride down I got to hang out in town with him for a bit while we waited for the rain to pass. In the evening I held true to my country and bought the family beer and listened to country music on the porch outside the house. Overall, it was a great 4th, but I must say I did miss the fireworks over the Delta!
The view from one side of Upstation, this is only a small portion of the city!
Friday, July 5th– Sleepy, sleepy Julie
I fell asleep at 8 pm last night. I swear I have become the biggest grandma while here. I can barely keep my eyes open after 7 and force myself to stay up until 9 pm so that I won’t wake up earlier than 6:30 in the morning, which I now do naturally. I will have to get back to my normal midnight bedtime to survive school next semester!
Saturday, July 6th– Ndawara Tea Estate
Titus took me on an adventure to the Ndawara Tea Estate this morning, the one tourist spot in the North West Region. We took a taxi to a neighboring quarter, and then squeezed into another one with 6 other people. Who knew a 5 person car could fit 8! We passed a police control, where they are specifically supposed to check that the car isn’t over capacity, but there was no problem so I guess 8 is the limit? The view was spectacular as we climbed up the mountain and on the other side we took an hour long motorbike ride up to the park, my abs were killing me by the end.. It’s like riding a horse since it is awkward for me to hold on to the stranger driving the bike in front of me. At the checkpoint before the park they took down all my information and that happened two more times, a little nerve racking because I had only brought my driver’s license! We got a whole tour of the tea factory, very cool, and when I left they gave me a gift of 8 tea boxes to bring back to America and share (my roommate at Cal is going to be very happy :] )! After that they walked us up through where the workers live (this is high in the mountains so the workers live right next to the factory and make up the estate) to the small zoo-like area. I got to see a huge snake, ostriches, peacocks, and even hold a chimpanzee named Billy!
The little town: