Friday, July 10, 2015

Roadtrip Back to Tana....Again.

My view.  With those glasses, he looks like a creature from Madagascar :-)

It took us almost 14 hours from the time we left our hotel in Morondava to the time we arrived at our hotel in Tana. Yes, we had a few breaks - especially as we were making our way out of Morondava but for the most part, it was driving, driving, driving. Ugh!



By now, the landscape was no longer interesting to look at.  Same old, same old.  Even so, I felt compelled to take it all in because today would be my last day in the Madagascar countryside.  I can't believe that we're headed home tomorrow.  Too short a visit!

Heading east we drove back through a hilly region.   We coincided a *pee* break with taking in the wonderful view.  There may be 22 million people living in Madagascar but there's still a lot of wide open spaces to admire.


We made another stop for Jean Claude to purchase a few bags of dried jujubes.  Without leaving the car, Jean Claude just shouted out what he wanted and the woman came over with a few bags.  He handed her the money, across the car window, and then took the bags from here.  Purchase done, so easy peasy.


Today was our last view of a landscape dotted with rice paddies.....lots of rice paddies.


We also said goodbye to the zebu....lots of zebu.


Every now and again, we would be reminded that we had another four passengers in the car.  For the most part they were very quiet, but every now and again, there was some loud clucking - the sound of chickens fighting.  I don't think they were very comfortably positioned.  Of course, as the day progressed, the smell of chicken poop filled the car.  Occasionally, I would roll down the window to air things out.


It was our last view of countryside homes.  I will forever identify these distinctively styled two story mud brick buildings with Madagascar.


I will also forever remember the color of the earth here - a super intense shade of terracotta orange.


As with all our other Madagascar road trips, we passed by countless small villages....




....and markets bustling with activity.  Everywhere you look, there's something going on in Madgascar.


When I needed a break from looking outside the window or I just needed a laugh, I just looked over at George.  I think he has room for a third pair :-)


I will forever remember all the people walking along the roadsides....lots of people walking.  Young or old, man, woman or child, they walk.  It's a hard life here.



By mid afternoon, we had finally arrived into Antsirabe and it was time for lunch.  Since neither George nor I had had breakfast, we were more than ready to eat.




Jean Claude took us back to Zandina.  As we pulled up outside the restaurant, a group of souvenir sellers approached us - offering everything from small carvings to vanilla.  Of course, Jean Claude advised us not to buy anything and I didn't have any intention to do so anyway.  Despite all the repeated no's on my part, they followed me as far as they could.  It was obvious they were not allowed inside the restaurant.

The last time we were here, we noticed Jean Claude and Binu having pizza.  It looked delicious so before we even made it to our table, I had already made up my mind that it was going to be pizza for lunch.  But we looked at the menu to see if there was anything else more enticing and in the end, we decided to share two meat filled pizzas.  No guinea fowl or zebu today!


The pizza was surprisngly delicious!  We were most certainly hungry too!  We ate every slice!

Okay, we had one pizza with olives and mushrooms....those were the veggies :-)

Back on the road, it was another 3.5 hours before we arrived into Tana.  It was already dark but the streets were still crowded with people and jammed with traffic.  In fact, we got stuck in a really bad jam - we barely moved a few feet every few minutes.  Impatient George was not happy but we had no choice but to  bear it out.


The bottleneck turned out to be the same traffic circle that gave Beeno a challenge a few days ago.


 I know that the country removed all traffic lights but in all seriousness, they should put one back in this spot.  There were a couple of policemen trying to coordinate the traffic but if you ask me, they weren't all that effective.  Both were using whistles to signal traffic to move forward but the two men were standing so close by to each other that you really couldn't tell which one was tweeting.  It didn't help that drivers were honking horns either.  What a mess!


Before dropping us off at the hotel, we went to Jean Claude's house.  The road leading up to his place was unpaved and filled with deep ruts.  We were back to offroading.   We pulled up out front and standing there, already waiting for his arrival were his wife and another woman.  We got out to meet them.  It was hard to see her face in the dark but I think Jean Claude's wife was fairly attractive looking.  Jean Claude handed over the four chickens and a couple boxes of pizzas that he had bought at Zandina.  Jean Claude's wife  didn't look surprised or bothered by the chickens so I guess she knew in advance they were coming.  The pizzas were for his two kids who were away for the weekend.  What a nice surprise they have waiting for them when they get back!

From Jean Claude's house, it was a very short drive to our hotel, the A&C Hotel in Ivato.  As we pulled up outside the hotel, we noticed several large tour buses, each with the name of an African country printed on a large piece of paper tacked up to the inside of the front window.   As we entered the hotel, I saw a poster announcing that Antananarivo was hosting the quarter finals of the 2015 FIBA Africa U16 Women's Championship.  The competitors were staying at the hotel.  Jean Claude got us checked in and then bid us goodnight.  I was sure he was keen to get back to his wife and who could blame him.

George and I got settled into our room and then headed down to the hotel restaurant for dinner.  We had only had lunch a few hours ago and it was a big lunch at that so I really wasn't hungry.  A bowl of soup, with bread, was enough for me.

Back in our room, we relaxed the rest of the night.  Tomorrow, we actually get to sleep in as we don't have to meet back up with Jean Claude until 9a. We have some shopping to do before we leave this amazing country!

Goodnight from Tana!