A world apart…The unique land of Madagascar

Hello World!!

I hope everyone is well. Internet, electricity and running water have been scarce the last couple of weeks and I am obviously a bit behind on the blog due to such circumstances. I am in the process of catching up,  so hang tight and there will be many stories, pictures and videos to come…but for now I will just update you on my last 2 weeks  🙂

I arrived in Antananarivo (Also known as Tananarive or simply Tana), the largest city and capital of Madagascar, located in central region of the island. My new couch surfing host Dimby came to pick me up from the airport and was very surprised when I called him from a Malagasy number. (I am not traveling with a phone during this journey, so I ask random friendly looking strangers to call my friends/hosts when I need to contact them…it usually works out) We loaded my bags in his old school  black 5251 BMW and set off to explore and embrace the Madagascar way of life. Driving through the city we passed markets packed with brightly colored fruits and vegetables, raw meat basking in the sun, rice fields with farmers processing the rice for its many uses, locals making bricks from the mud and drying them in the sun; moms, children and maids doing their laundry near any water source available. The streets bustled with Zebu carts,  laughing children, locals carrying just about everything on their heads, (buckets of water, piles of wood, bags of laundry). Looking around you feel a bit like you’ve got a few decades back in time.

We started entering the countryside, home to the majority of Malagasy, which remains highly traditional and self sufficient on the land. We ended our trip at Ambohimanga hill near Manjakamiadana, (the queen’s palace), one of the popular trekking spots better known for its picturesque landscapes and historical villages…Quite far from the city center.  The  view was breathtaking and the sunset even more so. We walked to the top, passing tons of interesting plant plant life like the plant below…Got Malaria? Look no further! The Artemisia plant is just for you! Just boil it & drink the water & you’re good to go 🙂The temperature began to drop as nightfall came, so we headed back into town. and stopped at a tiny eatery on the side of the road where I was introduced to mesquite shish kabobs and bon bon anglais, my new favorite drink!

The dancing and karaoke in Madagascar is quite entertaining. They sit down in front of the screen and sing to very slow, serious music; and the dancing is different in each region. Penelope, Dimby and I went for a night out on the town. Watched karaoke at Happy Zone, where you can have dinner, music and a massage. Had a drink to go in the car & then danced it up at the bar.  Antananarivo dancing is similair to the dancing back home, but the further south you go on the island then more interesting it gets. The women shake their money makers and the men do a funky chicken dance with shoulder popping and hip gyrating.

Dimby is such an amazing host and had 4 surfers at once! Three of us from the States (Alyssa, Penelope & myself) and one from Germany (Petra).  He invited us to join he and his family for the Sunday brunch. It was such a delight to enjoy such a wonderful meal with everyone.

Alyssa and I set out the first morning exploring the markets, and then Petra and I went on a little “behind the scenes” tour and walked all through the tiny alleyways  behind the markets and ended up in a rice field with a beautiful view of the city.  We had such a great time, winding in and out, up and down, chatting with all of the locals, taking pictures of the children that we came across along the way, snapping photos and then smiling from ear to ear from the laughter that came over the kids them when they saw themselves on our camera screens. We eventually popped back out near some fresh fruit stands with woven baskets full of live ducks and chickens.

After lunch we set out to find lemurs. I was so excited! The scene with the dancing lemurs from the Madagascar movie kept replaying in my head. “I like to move it move it! 

We were able to see 8 of the 99 lemur species known, several varieties of wild plants including baobab trees bamboo and guava plants, all living and growing freely in the botanical park  located about 30 minutes from the city centre. There were a few tortoises and a chamelion that was less than enthused with our herd of girls snapping photos and videos. The lemurs however, were quite lively, especially when Alyssa said “What do they sound like?” and I said “Hmmm, not sure” and started laughing when one jumped down beside me, and then my laughter turned to silence because I had spooked it and in return it decided to spook me and started howling at the top of its lungs and then 2 more lemurs chimed in…by the time they were finished, Alyssa turned back to us and said, “Well, now we know what they sound like…Is anyone else a little scared?”

We had tons of fun with these  tree-dwelling prosimian primates that are only found in the unique land of  Madagascar. They stole our heart with their large eyes, long tails, pointed muzzles, and woolly fur.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kristi
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 15:29:16

    WOW!

    You met my friend Penny. I was just writing her an email to ask if she was in the video. That’s my girl from Houston. I skydive with her. It looks like you had fun.

    Reply

  2. Traveling Gypsy Adventures
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 15:38:26

    Hey Kristi!
    Penny & I had tons of fun in Madagascar. She’s a cool girl! Maybe we can all get together sometime when I get back to the states…maybe even do a little skydiving together 🙂

    Reply

  3. Kristi
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 19:47:22

    I’m so happy to hear that! The pictures look great and now I want a lemur. She certainly is a cool girl. I would love to go skydiving with you and you are more than welcome to couch surf with me if you make it down to Houston.

    Reply

  4. Traveling Gypsy Adventures
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 20:01:27

    Ha ha I want a lemur too! I will definitely take you up on that offer when I’m in Houston & same for you if you are ever in Charlotte 🙂

    Reply

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