Seventy two hours of traveling later you arrive back in Ngaoundéré. You try to remember why you needed the vacation. Then the thought of school reminds you.
One train ride of manioc (cassava) whiskey.
Wait two hours on a bus to go six hours. You’re in a city whose pronunciation makes no sense, Dschang (Chang) but you get to kayak.
A road that forgot it was a road later you’re in Bamenda. Faces from training, smiles, hugs, empty places of the people that left. Pointless and frustrating training sessions. Hazy nights that have a lingering sensation of fun.
Seven hour bus ride to a volcanic beach. It is hard to tell the difference between the air and water. The rainforest spills out onto the black-sand beach as the volcanic mountains hide shyly amongst clouds. The bay in Limbe is surrounded by oil rigs. In the middle of the bay, almost spitting distance it feel, from the touristic beach there lays, obscenely, an oil rig. Wave of frustration at corruption. But damn good fish. Burgers and pizza at a rescued wild life preserve. Aw at the life around.
Night bus. Shhh, it is not allowed.
The North West is the complete opposite of the Adamawa as the earth reaches for the sky in numerous mountainous arms. One fall off a moto, deep gash on the helmet later you’re on a road that exists only in the air, dust, cough. Talla, a tiny, hilly village. So cold. Old man meeting in a room whose walls have blackened from smoke. Chug palm wine, these old men would shame a frat boy. Meet a king (?). Dragged into a secret dance that you are not allowed to describe, though it would only take a sentence. Juju (ghost) in your face. Gasp. Goat for dinner.
Waterfall back in Kumbo. Sketchy car ride at 5 am to a three hour wait for a bus where you lingered on the brink of insanity.
Yaoundé. over twenty dollars for a lunch. But it was a bacon cheeseburger. You feel like you are in Lost in Translation as a you have an Old Fashioned at the top of the Hilton after you got a free ride from a stranger.
Countdown to the train. In Ngaoundéré. You have been calling Beka Hosséré home and it finally feels that way as you return. You never thought you would have missed a toilet that was only a hole in the ground.
Christmas with Americans, Dionysus style. Pause, then New Years with martinis in a nalegen on a roof. You marvel at the beauty of the Adamawa as bats leave for their hunt with the backdrop of a blood orange sky.
It is a new year and you keep the person you want to be in your mind. You continue to wonder who has time for anything. You continue to be happy. You continue to try to love. You continue to try to hope.