Saturday, January 07, 2006

Beer beer and New Year!

In the week between Christmas and New Year we took advantage of the continuting holidays to show Em a bit more of the Extreme North after my Principal had kindly offered to take us on my second trip to Tokombere. This time it was for two days with a nights stay over. After my last experience in Tokombere wth my Prinicpal where lots of beer was consumed, I wasn't overly surpirsed to find that this trip followed pretty much the same form, although this time lots of eating was involved too! We had a really good time, although I think Em was struggling with the continuous supply of warm beer that was being placed in front of her and a few strategic tip overs were in order so as to keep up with the pace and avoid having numerous unopened beers on the table watitng to be drunk!

Two days of rather high beer consumption and excessive eating finally took their toll on Em when we arrived home the next evening just in time before she projectile vomited all over my doorstep before doing the same thing in my bed (and yes I WAS in the bed too!!) The nicest thing about the whole thing was that the sick was a bright red colour after her final drink had been a litre of this fizzy drink they like to call Grenadine here, the colour alone of which I'm sure would mean that it'd be banned in the UK! (undoubtedly costcutters in Leam would sell it!)

New Year was also spent in the village celebrating with our friends, however it was slightly different from the New Year's we are used to at home! For New Year's Eve we were invited round my Prinicpal's house with some of the other teachers from school. We headed over there about 9pm, ate, drank, chatted and watched New Year's Eve television. As midnight approached the wine appeared and glasses were distributed. As wine is not the popular drink in this part of the country and cannot be opened with a bottle opener, there were some technical proceedures going on in an attempt to use a cork screw that obviously had not seen the light of day in a few years and snapped in half within two minutes of attempted opening! This being the case, a spoon and knife were resorted to and there were five grown men crowded round attempting to get into this wine! All the time this is going on the time is slowly ticking down yet I still scoffed at Em's suggestion at five to twelve that we actually might miss the turn of midnight. The fact that we had the TV on surely meant that there would be some sort of count down in true Big Ben style from 10 to 1 which would tear everyone's attention away from the wine opening and we would sing 'Bonne Annee' in unison and hug and kiss one another. Surely??
Not so as the case turned out to be. There was not even a mention of it on the TV apart from a small notice in the corner of the screen wishing viewers a happy new year! It was only five minutes into the new year, when the wine operation had been successfully completed, that a fellow teacher noticed that it was gone midnight and announced in a low volumed manner that we were already in 2006!

The rather more low key New Year's eve than we were used to was actually really pleasant and was suplemented by the events on New Year's Day which took on much the same form as Christmas Day ie trips round to lots of people's houses to eat and drink followed by a dancing soiree in the evening. Only difference this time was that instead of being awoken by a priest giving a sermon in Guiziga over the loud speaker, we were woken by little kids who come round chanting 'Bonne Annee' in return for a sweet or two! Made a change to actually be able to eat on New Year's Day as usually the hangover is so intense that much of the first day of the new year is spent in bed or with your head down the toilet!

And so that was the end of Em's visit, the end of 2005 and the end of my first 5 months here in Cameroon.

Oh, and I still haven't read more than 60 pages of one book........


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