While packing this morning Joy realized that she was missing 110,000 CFA out of her money belt. She got some cash out of it last night then left it in the room. When they started watching a movie last night (I was still at the internet cafe) the key had been left on the pool table - where it remained until Joy went to bed some hours later. The only thing that could have happened is that someone walked into the pool / video room, saw the key, took it, took the cash out of Joy's money belt (laying on the bed in sight), and then returned the key without us noticing. There were quite a few people in and out of the room so it's totally possible. On the plus side if they'd taken the entire belt she'd have lost her passport and credit cards. Still given that Cameroon was starting to wear on me yesterday this was not a good way to start the day.
A quick run to the bank for money this morning turned into an all day affair. No banks in Cameroon will give visa cash advances, although each one would refer us to another. I have traveler's checks left, but the others are dependent on their credit cards. I cashed a couple hundred at the bank (terrible exchange rate, plus a 5 percent commission). We realized that we could probably get cash (or at least more traveler's checks from the American Express representative here in Douala (Cameroon's only one). Headed to the travel agent which represents Amex only to find them closed for lunch, come back at two thirty.
My patience with some of my travel mates is running out (and theirs with me), and the stress isn't helping so we split directions to meet back at the agent at 2:30 or 3:00. They went off to book tickets on an afternoon bus to Yaundé. I decided it might be a good idea to try to do something solo for the next couple days as I'm hoping to continue traveling with them in South Africa (and up the East coast). I went to check out the train schedule and stupidly took a mobylette - a moped taxi. I will not do that again, as near death experiences go this one is not recommended. The worst part involved a semi truck actually brushing my arm as we shot across in front of it. I was trembling for a good hour after getting off. The train only runs once a day to Yaoundé and I couldn't get any information on the route north out of Yaoundé (which is what I was really interested in). On the 6 km walk back to the travel agent (no way I am ever taking a mobylette again) I realized that I might just want to get the hell out of Cameroon on the next flight (day after tomorrow).
Finally got to the Amex agent at three - the others are nowhere to be seen. The travel agent informs me that they no longer represent American Express and that there is no longer any representation in Cameroon. I waited outside the office a half hour before giving up on the others. On the walk back to the hotel I decided that I'd see how I felt tomorrow then decide if I want to hike Mt. Cameroon and go to Yaoundé or beyond, or if I just want to jump on the plane to South Africa and meet the others later. I'm thinking they've probably left me a note at the hotel and gotten on a bus for Yaundé.
Back at the hotel the others are hanging out waiting for me. They've decided independently that they're going to head to Johannesburg a week earlier. I'm still going to wait and see how I feel tomorrow before making up my mind.
Between being sick, getting ripped off, and the stress I'm feeling as home sick as I ever have. I'm lonely and the fact that I'm with friends even makes it worse. I'm trying to avoid thinking about the fact that I want to spend another year (or more) doing this...