"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Itchy Boots Season 7: Benin to the Central African Republic


Not terribly long after Noraly's break from Africa in which she traveled a bit more and managed to break a bone in her hand, she was back posting her twice-weekly videos. She started in Benin where her motorcycle Alaska had been waiting all these weeks. Noraly acknowledged that she'd left Alaska longer than she had wanted, and it wasn't a good idea to leave a bike that long. She showed where rust had formed on Alaska because the bike had been left in a humid climate. Thankfully she was able to get most of that off, and told us Alaska started immediately!  That bike took her through parts of South and Central America, and from Mexico up to Alaska before Noraly shipped her to Spain for this adventure in Africa. So, Alaska has been through a lot. In her recent (January 2024) newsletter/email Noraly said she was looking for a new bike for when she starts a new trip later this year.

In the meantime, Morocco and West Africa has morphed to Return to Africa on her YouTube channel. Here's the last couple of months!

December 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, 31

We watched episodes 61-69 which were in Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon

In these videos, she got a huge stack of money when she traded in her dollars and CFAs as the Nigerian money "is not doing well."  She started this return with a Live Chat with other subscribers (our first time joining a live chat). She noted few helmets were used in the part of Nigeria she was in which was strange since they had been required in Benin. Nigeria had so many checkpoints, many of which were sketchy so she didn't stop for them unless they seemed official, or it was just not possible to continue.  The locals used tree branches to block parts of the road.  In one episode she crossed the Niger River in a ferry. Nigerians on YouTube and Facebook said they use a bridge and didn't know you could ferry across. Also, some Nigerians wondered why she used these terrible roads instead of the main roads.  (She likes backroads usually so she might have chosen them instead of ones she thought were busier. Then again, her GPS might have taken her along these routes.)   One interesting thing to me (ep. 63) was seeing the locals dry the grain by placing it on the streets.

Noraly went to the capital Abuja to sort her visa to Cameroon. She seemed to really like this capital as she said it was laid-back, and not like those she's typically encountered. She also seemed to enjoy having running water and electricity. I think she stayed there a few days to do some work and rest up as she seemed better-rested when the videos resumed.

Episodes 65 and 66 were my favorite in Nigeria as the mountains were so pretty, the locals were friendly and she interacted with them more (or showed it more than some past videos where she just struggled to ride the bike on muddy roads.)   (Note: my mom grew up in Nigeria and her youngest brother was born there so my mom would point out things that were familiar to her. She said this mountainous region was similar to where she attended boarding school at Kent Academy.)

In episode 67 Noraly made it into Cameroon. She noted that she used this particular border crossing because other crossings were closed to foreigners due to rebel activity.  In Cameroon she has done more sightseeing which I enjoy. She admitted skipping this in Nigeria because of security issues in that country.  She visited a snake and spider museum and got instructed on how they make bronze statues.  She also visited a waterfall that was gushing water after many recent rains. We got tickled at the local who said the lake area directions. Something like "take this bad road, and the next bad road and then..."  And, yeah, there were some bad roads, but that lake area was gorgeous!


January 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, 28, 31

We watched episodes 70-78 which were in Cameroon and the Central African Republic

Such muddy, horribly rutted roads! Noraly dropped her bike, lost a mirror and half her windshield in Cameroon, but met kind people who helped her along the way. I enjoyed seeing the sunset at the beach and her night-time turtle patrol (ep. 72.)

In episode 73, I loved the church ladies singing in the road and Noraly's time in the capital. Yay for pizza! Also notable was her search for petrol and those huge rain drops!

Loved her riding with the cattle and something notable were those toll detours (ep. 74).

I loved the military guys taking pictures with Alaska at the border of Cameroon and CAR. Yikes, a broken start button and quickly approaching nightfall: thank goodness she stopped and found shelter with the villagers. Really great episodes in CAR! (see #75-76)

Forest elephants at their mineral-rich watering hole. Noraly counted over 100 of them! So pretty! Then in the next video, we see western lowland gorillas in the wild - fascinating!  I love the people.  (ep. 77-78).

One of my favorites (paraphrased)... When Noraly was walking down the path to see the elephants, she noted footprints several times. 

She asked her guides: Do you ever see elephants when you are on the paths.

Uh, yeaaah...

What do you do?

Hide behind a tree.

Love that.

No comments: