Monday, 4 October 2010

Madagascar: part 1

My first part in Madagascar was to go by car, with a driver/guide, southward to Antsirabe on RN7. From there on we went westward to Miandrivazo where i slept in a hotel nearby the Mahajilo river. The next day i went with another group of 4 tourists to the boarding place on the Tsiribihina river. From there on, it was 2 and a half days pure quiet pleasure to descend the river.

Marie-Andrée et Josie de la Réunion
The 4 tourists consist of 2 girls from l'île de la Réunion and a couple from Luxembourg. I immediately took to liking the 2 girls from Reunion and we exchanged addresses. The other couple is not worth speaking of.

On the way we slept on the river's sandbanks in tents. We generally woke early and slept early. The sun rises at about 5:30 am and sets at about 6pm. We ate on the ship, which is a 14m long motorboat. The main deck was about 10m for the customers with a table and seats, 2m of kitchen, and 2m for the pilot. The above deck covers less than half the length and has two deck-chairs.

The trip was really nice, we stopped by local villages, a natural pool, and even saw a crocodile one day. The children like to be taken on photos and watching themselves on the camera's display.

Tsingy's de Bemaraha
At the end we arrived at Belo s/Tsiribihina. From there we were taken by a 4WD to Bekopako, which lies about a 100km northward on a bad untarred road. This took us the whole afternoon. At Bekopako we visited the Tsingy's of Bemaraha. The Tsingy's of Bemaraha are a rock formation which has eroded over a long time. The visit usually consists of one day visiting the caves with a pirogue and the little Tsingy's and one day visiting the great Tsingy's. Unfortunately i told the travel agency the price was too high, and they cut off a day from the Tsingy's, so i could not visit the great Tsingy's :(

The night before leaving, a Saturday evening, we were invited to a dancing party in town. There i did not dance, but talked with the local people who had no money to participate in the fun. Although there was no entry price, they preferred watching us from outside. The problem was to buy drinks. So i went outside and talked with them a bit. I bought them some bottles of soda and beer during this time. One old farmer got drunk (he was not accustomed to alcohol) and wanted me to dance with him. Then some little girls began dancing like little devils. They danced for at least an hour, when i decided to buy them a big bottle of Fanta. They thanked me with sparkling eyes and shared it among themselves. They even shared it with the other kids who were not dancing.

Allée des Baobabs

The next day i went back the 100km trail to Belo s/Tsiribihina where we took the barge to the actual town. From there it was another long drive over trail to Morondava. A few kilometres before Morondava we stopped to watch the sun set over l'Allée des Baobabs.

The previous day, a girl asked me if she could accompany me to Morondava as she had to get there and there are no taxi brousses from Bekopako. I told her i had to talk to my driver Alain about it, and as he said it was my decision, we took her with us. On the road the 4WD of another group (a elder couple) broke down and we had to take them with us too, leaving the driver behind with his car. Arriving in Morondava the girl invited me to a party at her home where her sister had birthday. There i ate a lot of giant shrimps and carrot salad. The next day i got ill and stayed ill for 3 days. To go to her, the girl ordered a taxi, which was a 4L which pumped its fuel from an Eau Vive bottle. This was really funny, and the driver told it was "système malagasy".

The next morning i went to the airport and took a flight back to Antananarivo and my friend Masy's home.