Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Kribi- Weekend at the Beach

I feel like I’m always writing about my weekends- one of these days I’ll write about a typical weekday here, but for now, too much happens on the weekends!

This past weekend was a 3 day because of the end of Ramadan as a holiday, so I got to go to the beach with a big group of teachers! It was so cool.

Kribi is one of the beach towns in Cameroon- its about 4 hours from Yaounde, and there’s one road you take to get there. It’s the one road you travel on from Yaounde to Duala (the biggest city in Cameroon), and its crazy. We had it good because we left at good times when the road wasn’t crowded. But it’s a really narrow road with lots of turns, and everyone here drives crazy. There’s lots of buses and huge logging trucks so you have to pass people a lot. There are a lot of accidents on the road. Every once in awhile there are little “towns” long the way, very small, but everyone swarms your car and tries to get to you buy bananas and plantain chips. It's crazy how you drive with nothing around for miles, and then all of the sudden there's a little house all alone, or a little town. You have to stop at these towns and pay a toll to a lady that collects your money- apparently that’s why the road is so “good.” It’s actually paved and there’s no potholes, due to the tolls. You also have to stop at checkpoints, where the gendarmes (Cameroonian police officers) stop cars and check ID’s and passports, and try to get bribes. I drove in a car that belonged to one of our friends who works with the embassy, so he had special plates, so we didn’t have to stop at any checkpoints, which was nice. So that’s an adventure in itself, but we made it without much excitement so that was good.

We stayed at this cute little hotel called the Serena, its right on the beach, there’s only like 12 rooms in the whole thing. We were almost the only people staying there. It has outdoor dining and beach chairs and the beach right there. It’s nice, but Cameroonian nice- everything is just old and not very clean, and usually broken. But you can tell it used to be nice at one point, and where we stayed was very nice for Cameroon.

Kribi is so cool- you feel like you’re in Swiss Family Robinson all the time. You’re in a jungle but on the beach at the same time. I’ll put up some pictures instead of trying to describe it. The water is warm, and the waves are really strong so you can’t really swim out far.

So we went to this fish market right when we got there- it’s right on the water, and there’s tons of fresh fish. You walk around and pick out your fish, and then they cook it for you right there and bring it to you and you eat by the water. It was so cool, and sooo cheap for really good fresh fish. I had this red something or other and this really flat fish, and shrimp. We went back there the next day and got barracuda- it was sooo good. I’m not even into fish at all, but this fish was so good, and how they prepared it was awesome too. (Of course they give you the whole fish, head and everything.)

Because this was like vacation for us, a lot of us brought books and laid in the sun and read, which was really relaxing. We also went to see this really cool waterfall- its I think one of the only places in the world where freshwater pours straight into the ocean without going first into a bay or a channel or something. The waterfall was not high, but really wide, so it was like 5 waterfalls pouring into the ocean. The road to the waterfalls was crazy too- very Cameroonian. You really need 4 wheel drive to get around. The road wasn’t paved, and was full of holes and huge bumps. It had also just rained a ton, so there were huge puddles. They have these little bridges that are like 5 planks, makes me nervous! But we made it there and back. It’s amazing how you travel down these roads and then all of the sudden there’s a school or a hospital in the middle of the jungle.

Ryan and Joel and Riessa also came, but they stayed at another hotel (which was cheaper) so on Sunday night we went there to have a fish cookout and bonfire on the beach. It was really cool, we paid these people to get fish and cook it for us right there- barracuda again, shrimp, and “lobster” which was more like crayfish. I didn’t eat any of that. I was considerate and let other people J. Before the cookout we went swimming in this bay area that was more calm- the sunset was beautiful so I got some great pictures of people swimming there. It’s just so cool. You look out at this beautiful ocean, and then you turn around and there’s huge trees with awesome roots and trunks, little channels, huge leaves and palm trees. Everyone there also goes out and fishes in these canoes that are just hollowed out trees, they’re so cool. You’ll have to look at the pictures.

Overall it was a really great weekend. It was so beautiful, but also relaxing and so nice to just wake up and walk out your door to the beach. It was also really nice to get out with other people and relax and have fun as a group. There was 9 of us, so it was a fun group. I also got to hang out a bunch with Riessa, which was a lot of fun too. I really like that girl.

We came back on Monday afternoon, and then it was back to school today! I had basketball practice (I’m coaching middle school girls basketball) where 3 girls showed up. Haha. I’m trying to recruit more girls. If we can’t get at least 5, we’ll have to give up. I hope I can get more girls to play, I really like coaching. We have a game this weekend… so I need to get at least 2 more by Saturday! We’re playing Rainforest International School, the missionary school in Yaounde, so that would be cool to make some connections over there. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In other news, I’m starting to teach full time this week, so that means I’m teaching 4-8th grade on my own. It’s getting busy, but I still have Tom, my cooperating teacher for 6-8th grade guiding me a lot, so that’s good. I’m starting a unit on motion with the 4th graders and a unit on sound with the 5th graders, which I’m really excited about. I’m using AIMS and FOSS, which is like curriculum and lessons already set up, so its nice to have something to go by and be a little more organized with. Open house for middle school is tomorrow, so I’ll get to meet some more parents.

Other exciting news: Derek is coming to visit! He’ll be here October 13th, which I’m sooooooo excited about. I have a week break from school the week after he gets here, so we’ll have some fun adventures. It will be so nice to have him here for company, but also to experience all that I’m experiencing here. I had another nice treat this week to- a package from Gramps! He sent me a care package all the way to Cameroon. It was a bit of an adventure actually getting it, but I made it to the post office and had to pay a bit to get it, but it came, and it was unopened (which is rare that it got here and that no one opened it and took any of my goodies out). It took about 4 weeks to get here I think. But totally worth it! Peanut butter, pretzels, klenex, cup-a-soups, all sorts of great stuff. Thanks Gramps!

Ok, that’s all for now! I miss you all.

Love Grace

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