Getting out of Nigeria, Sharpish!!
Riding the 500+kms from Benin City to Calabar was exhausting work! The roads here are as dangerous as hell, many driver not caring by taking HUGE risks and the littering of the roadsides with smashed vehicles goes to show it doesn't always work. Mainly trucks wrecked but they drive at foolish speeds relying on their size for everyone to get out of their way. Nutters! I even had a crash myself, behind an ancient truck which quickly braked, I misjudged a raised section on the roadside and the bike went down at 30+mph, pirouetting down the road with the bloody great truck behind me, I was a bit worried but he pulled away, narrowingly missing me and the bike, Phew!. The bike has so far gone down at least 12 times to being dropped and 3 times in crashes! I wonder how long it will last? My elbow and knee aches but nothing bad. I certainly hope I don't break something, me or the bike!
I saw 3 accidents on the road to Calabar. The fuel situation here isn't too good with long queues waiting for their turn and fist fights breaking out at the pump.
I quickly received my Cameroon visa and decided to get the ferry to Limbe, Cameroon and save the three day trek through piste roads and catch the boys up early, not wanting to spend New Years eve in Nigeria but with familiar faces and a less dodgy country. The ferry ticket was an easy buy for 5,000 naira (€25) but the fun starts when the issue of the bike transportation came up! Bartering the agent down from 34,000 to 10,000 naira (€50) and so the formalities of the Customs and Immigration came and went without too much ado. The boat is supposed to leave at 10pm for the 10 hour crossing but due to piracy it didn't leave till 5 am the following morning so I hunkered down for the wait, buying food and water for the trip as the boat is merely a freighter, secured and covered the bike with my blue tent cover, strung up the hammock and slept on the top deck.
Posted by geoffshing at January 03, 2009 10:35 AM GMT
The crossing went well but not in the 10 hours but 13 and the boat docked SIDEWAYS to the harbour at Limbe! Which meant getting the bike off the boat via the ramp wasn't possible and the bartering started again for the bike to be carried off by the dockers. The docker boss saying I had to wait till friday, 2 days time or some 'arrangement' could be made. I was terrified the bike would be dropped into the sea and anxiousley waited for the process to begin after taking off the panniers and other luggage. I mistakingly didn't arrange a price to start with so when he bike did get off the ship and in one piece the 'arrangement' was then to be discussed with the inital price being 50,000 XOF (€85) and getting it down to 15,000 XOF. Handshakes to seal the deal and payment made, I made my way out of the dock and met up with Mark at his hotel. New Years Eve was spent having a few beers in the bar and some arse in a Peugot reversed into the bike, knocking it over and took off without even saying sorry! Typical, bent pannier and a broken indicator!
Moving onto Yaounde the capital the next day was a pleasant trip, enjoying the new sights and sounds of a new country Cameroon. The driving here is less hectic with less motorcycles trying to barge their way through the traffic unlike Nigeria. More lush is the vegetation and the roads are in much better condition than Nigeria. Some visa shopping required for The DRC (Dem Rep of Congo) and Gabon and inner tubes for the bike after having a tube valve failure.