I’ve talked endlessly about the road to Lomié and my hate-hate relationship with it. While I haven’t had to sleep overnight on the road in some time since it has been dry season, that doesn’t mean the trip is fast or easy. When I left Bertoua 2 weeks ago to return back to Lomié, the trip took 14 hours. Now that I have my iPhone, I was able to discretely capture some of the fun. Come take a ride with me:
On the paved road portion of the trip from Bertoua to Abong Mbang, our car broke down for an hour.
On the same leg of the journey, I had my least favorite seat: the petit chauffeur. Thankfully, this car had a very spacious stick shift seat, and it was only three of us up front, not four or five as is common, so that gave me a bit more room. However, it is no less awkward to have the driver reach between my legs every few minutes. Thankfully this time I had a jumpsuit on and not a dress (although that made roadside peeing...impossible).
A herd of cattle stopped us right at the entrance to Abong Mbang (I can almost see Matt’s house from here!). In Abong Mbang, I waited three hours for a car to take me to Lomié. During this wait, countless drunk men grabbed at me, one man stroked my hair and then got into a fight with another man over whether my hair was real or not, another man sat in front of me and stared at me for 20 minutes, and then two of the men with whom I’d be riding with asked to marry me, which I declined, and then they threatened to drug me en route so that they can say they’ve been with a white girl. How thoughtful.
There was a gas shortage so we drove around for an hour looking for someone who sold gas. Our car to Lomié fit 12 people. Four grown adults in front.
Four grown adults plus four children in back.
Not long after we set off on the road, the driver pulled over to have very quick sex with some girl outside of Abong Mbang. After getting back after 15 minutes or so, we continued on, only to stop again for 40 minutes because the stereo wasn’t working. The trip was very dusty. I got a very nice, but uneven fake tan.
In the late afternoon we were stopped again, not yet halfway to Lomié (and still on the ‘good’ portion of the road’), this time by two logging trucks that flipped over a bridge.
The logging trucks were in the process of being towed out. Thankfully, we only had to wait for about 40 minutes. (Update: I passed the same trucks today, 2 weeks later, and they still are rolled over)
I got home at 9pm, after having left Bertoua at 7am. My neighbor made me a salad and the next morning I was greeted over chai by this lovely friend of mine: