Friday 30 December 2011

Six Hours to Kousseri, Cameroon

9AM – Andrea DeRocco and I leave for Kousseri, the final Cameroonian city before one reaches Chad. This time last year, we met Joserine and Esther whom we later visited in Maroua, the regional capital of the Extreme North region. They closed down their salon and spa in Maroua and invited us to Kousseri to visit their hotel/cabaret/night club (very strong entrepreneurial women!). Joserne stated the city was only two hours away, so why not?

The road from Maroua to Kosseri, Cameroon

9:30AM – I ask the man next to me how long the trip would take. Usually about six hours, he says. Joserne = fail. At least I have a delicious fruit smoothie drink that resembled the ones I drank in Mali!

Still traveling from Maroua to Kousseri

3PM – We arrive in Kousseri. With trucks inundating the roads, it is easy to see how Kousseri is a transport city. Joserne picks us up from the Touristique agency and takes us to Hollywood Hotel (96 79 94 84 or 79 66 22 44). We get fed a delicious late lunch of fish brillon brought from the beaches of Kribi.

Joserne's three-year-old daughter

4:30PM – Kousseri has an amazing market selection as goods come from Chad, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic, so it’s shopping time! Esther’s son, Freddy, and his friend show us around. The number one good to buy: the beautiful scarves!

Kousseri's main market

7PM – Time for the Cabaret! In Cameroon, a cabaret means that a singer/dancer or two will perform.

Cabaret at Hotel Hollywood

8PM – More fish for dinner! There are local “fish mommas” that grill fish on the hotel’s premises, so we eat grilled fish with cassava and onions. I ask Joserne why she told us it only took two hours to get to Kousseri when in reality it took six. “I lied to you because I wanted you to come!” Well played.

10PM – Nightclub time! The beauty of Hotel Hollywood is that the hotel, cabaret, and nightclub are all next to each other (or it might not be so beautiful if you like to sleep!). We mosey over to dance, but as Cameroonians like to arrive to clubs at 2-3AMish, we are the only three on the dance floor. It’s a good time though and fun to watch the bartender/DJ; the equipment is ancient to say the least and he rushes from bar to the DJ stand every time he changes a song.

1AM – I go to bed as the nightclub continues on.

4AM – I hear Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” playing from the club. Cameroon loves Celine Dion. I think it’s the last song of the night, but as I drift in and out of sleep, I hear at least half a dozen more songs by her. Oh vey.

Good night, Kousseri!

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