We seem to have stalled. After a reasonably promising start in spring the summer hasn’t quite delivered on several fronts. Let’s get the obvious out of the way first; the weather has been almost British-like with mainly cloudy days and occasional showers.
Going Around Again
We’d just huffed and puffed our way to the top of the highest sand dune in Europe, the brisk breeze negated the heat of the sun making the task pleasurable. From the sea below to this point it’s 110m (361ft) and the view of Arcachon Bay spectacular.
I don’t know how or why but I seem to have been given the job of parakeet monitor. Two Gabon Grey’s arrived in a battered cage the other day. The plan was to take them to the forest and release them back into the wild but there was a hitch!
Making Friends in the Forest
After all of the ups and downs of my first few days things were starting to get interesting and I was settling into camp life. My contact had arrived so I could now do something constructive with my time and I was put to work producing their latest edition of newsletter.
Road to Conkouati
What happened next is best described as a physical assault. I climbed onto the backseat of the Toyota Hilux pickup next to some other bloke, between us was a large cooler box so the only place for my backpack was on my lap.
Travelling is all about new experiences but this is the first time I’ve had a bit of bony fish, skinny chicken legs and fried banana for Christmas dinner, why didn’t I think and bring a Christmas pud with me?
They’re really friendly people here, when they realise that you’re a tourist they wave and smile, today a big mamma sitting at a checkpoint blew me a kiss. Yep, still got it!
What started as a pretty run of the mill day in the rain forest ended being a tale of forgery on an international scale. Customs papers had been lost along the way, all of a sudden my artistic talents were of use.
In the Middle
We thought they’d gone for the night but they soon returned with reinforcements as well as the chief of the village and he wanted to talk tough. Negotiations commenced.
I Saw Sid But He Wasn’t Interested
It had taken me three days to organise transport to Pointe Noire and on the afternoon before the day of departure I met three Germans relaxing in my shady spot by the hotel reception. Turns out they are driving up through Africa and would the next day hit the road to Cameroon.