Edit: Started this post on Saturday but decided to wait until I figured everything out before publishing it.
So I was chatting with my mom on Facebook this morning. (Isn't it great having parents who wake up at 4 AM? And know how to use Facebook?) For the past few days she has been insisting I write a blog post so that people don't ask her if I'm doing ok. Moms. My response? "I'm not doing anything blog-worthy! I go to work. I come home. I sleep. I shower sometimes."
Lo and behold, as soon as I finishing discussing this with her something of note happens. I decide to go get a snack. While this alone is not really something worth blogging about, my experience, which probably lasted about 45 seconds, was fairly interesting.
So I live above a mini-mart. On Saturdays I usually treat myself by buying a snack from there. Things usually purchased: Petit Dej (literally "breakfast") a type of very thin chocolate chip "digestive". A yogurt. (self-explanatory) Fanta.
Things I do not purchase but frequently stare at: the un-refrigerated cartons of eggs, Pringles (for like $700), and of course...La Vache Qui Rit (Laughing Cow). Cheese. The food of my dreams. While I had originally assumed this cheese was as overpriced as the Pringles (also it was not in the refrigerator) and therefore not worth it, I did a little math. You see, my Petit Dej cookies cost 350 CFA. That's about $0.70 for a pack of 8 cookies. La Vache Qui Rit costs 800 CFA. "Ridiculous!" I thought to myself in my first few weeks here, "That is simply too overpriced and un-refrigerated for my tastes!" Well....my tastes have changed. And I did a little research. As it turns out, La Vache Qui Rit is one of those cheeses that you don't have to refrigerate. As it also turns out, 800 CFA is only about $1.50. I pay $4 for that stuff the US.
So I made a decision this week. Saturday, in celebration of completing my 3rd week here, I was going to buy the cheese. I was going to eat cheese for the first time since leaving American soil and I was so excited. (All of my Wisconsin readers are groaning at my decision to buy crappy cheese. But you know what? Wisconsin has cheese. Yaounde...not so much.)
All week I have been counting down to cheese day.
I should have known that it was not meant to be.
Saturday rolls around. I grab some money and stuff it in my jeans pocket and start to head out the door. It's pouring outside. "I guess I'll wait a little while longer" I sigh to myself. I read a book. I take a nap. I pace back and forth. Finally it stops raining. CHEESE DAY! So I head out the door and downstairs. My building is 4 or 5 stories high and I'm pretty close to the top. As I walk down I pass the sounds of cooking, arguing, watching poorly-dubbed American tv and I finally get to the big courtyard at the bottom preparing myself to greet the guard who controls the gate to the building. Except he's not there. In his place stands a soldier. Not just any soldier, but a guy fully decked-out in a uniform and a helmet. Oh yeah, and he's armed. I quickly slide past him and peek out from the gate. Only to realize all of the shops are closed.
"Hmm...this probably isn't the greatest place for a lone American to be right now." I think to myself. So I do what anyone else would have done in this situation. I turn around and walk through the gate again. The guard stares at me, almost glares, and I nod and mutter a quick "Bonjour" hoping maybe he'll offer up some explanation to the helpless white girl. Nope. Not even a nod back. I high-tail it back upstairs and collapse into bed as the dreaded realization dawns on me: Today will not be cheese day.
So what was actually going on? You may ask.
Well, it was not as I had assumed when I quickly facebook messaged my brother saying "THERE IS A MILITARY COUP OUTSIDE MY APARTMENT!" (Yeah, sorry Alex...) It was not, as we later decided, people protesting an increase in fuel prices. What happened was simply this: The president went to visit somebody in the hospital. Right near where I live. And they have to close down the whole street for that. Unfortunately I didn't find this out until Monday morning, so I remained cheese-less throughout the weekend.
Next Saturday. Next Saturday I shall get my cheese.