Friday, December 20, 2013

You are all kinds of woman right now.

So as my time winds down here in Cam Bam, I have been trying to squeeze in as much as I possibly can… and crushing it (obvi). I was in Bafia a couple of weeks back to train the Youth Development newbies, and my friend and fellow trainer Shane and I decided it was high time for our pilgrimage to the notorious crater lakes of the cLittoral. The last group who came back from the trek told tales of fog so thick they couldn’t see the lakes 50 feet below them, wild unpreparedness for rain/ cold/ chowtimes, and mad bulls emerging from the aforementioned fog in a fitful rage to charge the unsuspecting group. Shane and I had no qualms about any of their admonitions, as we both have very high opinions of ourselves, including high opinions of our eyesight, of our [debatably over-] preparedness in all things we do, first and foremost in snacking. We didn’t give much thought to the charging bull thing, as we were too busy planning our outfits and snacks for the next 48 hours.

So Shaners came back with me to Bafang after we finished up training, and after frying me up a whole mess of chocolate covered chocolate donuts, he and I grabbed a car out to a nearby town where we met our guide Rostan. My first impression was that Rostan was pretty cute (as are most humans after 27 sexually destitute months), was very well dressed and he had his own motorcycle (dolla dolla bills y’all). As visions of sugar daddy Rostan danced in my head, we careened down a paved road at lightning speed until we arrived at Rostan’s nearby village Mboroukou, where a GIANT ASS UNPAVED 90 DEGREE ANGLE HILL awaited us. For those of you who haven’t ridden on the back of a motorcycle lately, a hill like that is comparable to Shaun T’s “Insane Abs” workout but with the very real possibility that if you bitch out halfway through, you will fall off of a motorcycle and will sustain more injuries than cut abdominals (zing!). Upon arrival, Rostan ran inside his house to grab his things, while Shane and I sat outside and exchanged fears that the ab workout might have been a bit much for our liking, whimpering about how sore our abs already were as we strapped our very large hiking packs on. Just as we had figured out how to attach our giant motorcycle helmets to our already oversized packs, Rostan rolls out with a fanny pack and a hiking stick. Alright dude WAY TO MAKE US LOOK WHITER. That’s fine, let’s just fucking roll.

Without a word, Rostan breezes past us and just books it straight up the rest of the Insane Ab hill. It took me approximately seven seconds to decide that we had just embarked on the most bananas hike of life. Our trek was straight uphill at a mountain goat pace and Rostan kept looking back at my sweaty, ruddy, pitiful self bogged down with my big ass pack and asking if I was going to make it. YES ROSTAN DO I HAVE TO REMIND YOU AGAIN THAT I HIKED MOUNT CAMEROON?! I AM ACTIVE AND SHIT. Needless to say, my crush on Rostan quickly faded. I should, however, mention that the 27-month dry spell also kept me open to the idea despite the fact that he was a total and complete asshole who conveyed negative interest in my well being and only just slight interest in my existence whatsoever. Girl’s gotta eat, yo.

Anyways, cut to me, soaked to the bone in what had to be ALL of my sweat (what’s new, I know), taking very aggressive pulls from my camelback and vaguely wondering why the water in it tastes a bit off (black mold. I later realized that my entire camelback and its straw were full of black mold. Nomz.). All Shane had to say to this was, "You are all kinds of woman right now." MEOW BETCH. Oh and remember those mad bulls? Yeah well I most definitely did at this point, and every time we passed a herd of cows, I was very much on the verge of shitting myself/ sweating even more profusely/ sniveling for Shane to wait up for me and my bull-agitating red pack and hot pink shirt. Rostan had NO TIME for any of this. Homeboy did not have time for water breaks either, but I would just go ahead and stop every half-hour or so and let him deal. This, of course, generated a whole slew of questioning about my capacity to finish our day’s journey and my value as a human being in general. Probs still would have hit it at that point.

So after FOUR HOURS of straight uphill nonsense, dodging herds of mad bulls and wild horses, wading through swampland, and NOT TAKING ANY SNACK BREAKS WHATSOEVER, we made it to the beautiful crater lakes. Shane and I set up our hammocks under the gazebo, and told Rostan to get to steppin, thanks for nothing, and wait hold up are you DTF??? He left us in peace; so we stripped out of our soaking wet garb and slipped into our evening wear. I went for more of a homeless, genderless person, whereas Shane opted for the Fulani woman look. Once clad, we ventured down to one of the crater lakes to fill up our water bottles and my camelback (I’m a thirsty girl- a little black mold isn’t going to keep me from my agua). As we clambered down step after step with our very awkward stiff-legged, blister-footed gaits, we came to the realization that climbing back up to our gazebo was going to be literally the worst thing we have ever done in our lives. Our premonition was spot on. We got our water from where the reeds were growing (science!), and turned back to the stairway from hell. A small part of me died on the inside, but I managed to avoid shedding tears, my only driving force being that food was waiting for me at the apex. Also the fact that Rostan wasn’t around to rip on me for taking breaks. I made it to my sardine/ laughing cow cheese/ mustard sandwich, with a side of peanuts and dark chocolate and parle g cookies, and went ham. I’ve never been less sorry in my life.

As the sun started to go down to the west, Shane and I noticed that we could no longer see out to the east as a very ominous looking wall of clouds had gathered and was building momentum coming right at us/ completely enveloping us and our wall-less aluminum-roofed gazebo where our hammocks were hung. As soon as it got dark, a CRAZY lightning/ torrential rainstorm proceeded to rock our shit. I was scared out of my mind, and Shane kept trying to engage me in conversation to take my mind off of it, but apparently one of my trips down memory lane was just a little too long for his liking because he FELL ASLEEP. REWD!!! I stayed awake for hours, freaking the fuck out and trying to make peace with my life. Every muscle in my body was completely tensed, re-tensing with every lightning strike on the crater lake surface. At some point I managed to fall asleep, and I only know this because I was passed out when Shane, who had fallen asleep at like 8:00, tried to greet me all chipper-like at 4am saying "GOOD MORNING PRINCESS! HOW'D YOU SLEEP?" and I was like hell no bitch it is not time for any of that noise. We got up [hours later] and had a delicious breakfast of not quite hard boiled eggs and laughing cow cheese- no bread- and then had a photoshoot at the lakes before setting off Rostan-less to Bangem.

The "two hours" we'd been told it would take us to hike from the lakes to Bangem came and went as the sun ravaged my skin and gave me the lovely souvenir of mild sun poisoning. Nasty old mamas kept hitting us up for coin in the tiny villages that were not Bangem (and therefore the worst), and there were herds of cows and wild horses EVERYWHERE. Four hours and four hundred “Are we there yet?”s later,  we finally arrived in Bangem, only to hop on the CRAZIEST MOTO RIDE OF LIFE. Holy fuck. Our driver strapped our two hiking packs onto the back of his motorcycle, and then had both myself and Shane clamber onto his bike between himself and our packs. Then it was TWO HOURS of unpaved hills in one to four feet of mud AT ALL TIMES. I kid you not. That shit was ba. na. nas. Our driver was incredible, though, he was like the mud whisperer. We didn't fall (although if we had it's not like we would have fallen far or fast), and he only made us get off three times to walk (once was when he had to siphon some gas from another moto). By the end of the two hours, mud was caked from my boots to my waist, muscle memory from wearing my giant motorcycle helmet for two hours between two large dudes had fixated my gaze aggressively to over my right shoulder, and my thighs and abdominals were Teresa-Giudice-flip-a-table mad at me (Prostitution whore!). And I thought the Insane Ab moto ride was rough. Woof.

Thank you, Cameroon, for all of the ridiculous memories.

peace love and prostitution whores.

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