What a trip! My visit to Africa, a return to my motherland after a 20 year absence was a welcome relief. Joining me on the trip was my wife Victorine, my Brother-in-Law, Jude Ambe, and Victorine’s mother, or “Mother Theresa” and “Grannie”, as she is affectionately known.
Cameroon, my wife’s place of birth was our main destination, to visit my wife’s family and celebrate the Christmas holiday. Cameroon is located in west -central Africa, and the uniqueness of this African nation is its people. The English speaking Cameroonians, where my wife comes from and the French speaking Cameroonians combine for an interesting blend of two cultures. To me it seemed most of the people spoke French but made the effort to speak English when engaged. The Cameroonian people are very friendly and always welcoming.
We arrived in Cameroon via Malibu at 8 am, and the temperature was approximately 120 degrees. Departing the plane was like entering an oven. We could have fried an egg on the runway. We had clearly arrived on the continent of Africa.
The pilot and air hostess thanked us for flying with Ethiopia Air and wished us well during our stay in Cameroon. I was quite impressed with the service. After all I have heard about African airlines, this one proved to be best in class.
The plane had taxied to the terminal and we were required to walk from the plane on the runway to the Arrival Entry area lugging our carry-on bags every step of the way. This was a change from what we have grown used to at US airports where it is usually forbidden to walk the runway as a traveling passenger for safety and security reasons.
The Arrival Entry area was filled with passengers processing through immigration with immigration officers directing passengers to individual booths for processing. International passport holders to the left, domestic travelers to the right and those holding Cameroon passports had to find their way to a booth located on the other end of the Arrival area. To my surprise processing our arrival went quite fast and we were on our way to baggage claim to pick-up our bags. It is always a stressful situation when navigating through airport customs, to have to be on guard and very attentive, because, if not, one will be at the mercy of the local “Jan dam”, or what is known in the US as the TSA.
My brother-in-law, Jude, had traveled a week before our arrival. So I was not surprised to see him at the baggage claim expertly assisting to identify our luggage and help process the bags through customs. For those who have traveled to Africa, the process is swift if you know who and what to do. In less than 45 minutes we were out the door and loading our luggage in the SUV for travel to Duala.