Madagascar the Beautiful

Good deeds aside, we love traveling to places off the beaten path. I don’t believe that Madagascar currently has too many paths, beaten or otherwise. 

Generally we have an inkling of what we are getting into. This trip – nada.
Generally we do our Dudley-Do-Right stuff the first couple of weeks and, once we have a better feel for the country, the people, the culture and the language we peel off the altruism shell and indulge.
Because of timing issues with the vol programme, we’ve been exploring the world’s 4th largest island.  And, begrudgingly, thanks go out to Robert Bourassa and Rene Levesque for forcing English down our throats back in the ’70s. Being able to speak the language with the denizens, read the signs, and generally fit in a bit better than a couple of foreign you-hops has certainly ameliorated the trip.

As stated previously (so why state it again?!?)there is not a ton of history to hold onto. Madagascar is about geography, animals, and great food.

We have covered close to 1,000 kilometres, heading south from Tana. The scenery changes regularly and our driver and guide help while away the hours.
Lori and I have spent significant hours hiking and we have more scheduled for tomorrow.
But fact is, Madagascar speaks bet through pictures.

So most of this blog will feature our photos.
Not only do you get to see beauty at an extreme level, but you won’t have to plot through my diatribes.
Talk about a win-win for the fans.

Sunday, aside from being a travel day for us was, to a lesser extent, Christmas Day. As we drove for  hours heading to our next destination – a lemur camp 250 km south of where we presently were inhabiting, each little town was out in full regalia, heading to church in their Sunday best,

resplendent in their finery. Often walking for miles to attend services, the roadside parade presented an unforgettable cotillion of colours, textures, patterns and styles. Hats were everywhere. To witness a human regatta walking miles to attend church services was an insight to the penetration of Catholicism throughout the country.

Lori and I were off on a four hour jaunt to get to a lemur colony. It has been in existence for 20 years and was run by the local populace. The brainchild of a university style, the area was now receiving 9,000 visitors per year. Proceeds from ticket sales were used to maintain and upgrade the facilities. What was very exciting was that a large portion of the gate was used to fund education for the children of the village. There’s hope. We have learned that there is a plethora of lemur species. Since working with them will take up two weeks of volunteerism, suffice to say that you, dear readers will learn more about lemurs and exposed to more facts and info about these cute little critters than anybody should ever have to. Speaking purely scientifically, lemurs are cute, lemurs are fun.( editor’s note – trouble with internet preventing proper downloads. Ergo, fuzzy fotos and look minted access to our pictures. Technicians working on the problem. And now, back to the program. 

The topography of Madagascar is astounding, with outcropping and mountain ranges rivalling some of the finest in the world. More on those in future episodes. One of the intimacies that Lori and I share is a highly developed level of pareidolia. We see images of people and animals in inanimate objects. Facebook friends of ours have to look back no further to the image of John Glenn appearing in our bedroom pillow two weeks back.

We share visions, or are equally affected by a benign for of psychosis. In this case, Lori made out a tiger form on the side of the mountain.

Once the guides were able to follow our parameters, they were excited as a bunch of lemurs. We are quite certain that the Legend of Tiger Mountain will be woven into the future spiels that accompany the lemur tour. At least it should be.

  • Cookieman
    Posted at 12:45h, 27 December Reply

    As you started off by telling us that there was little history to share, I was pleased to see that we are on the same wavelength that you should leave a lasting impression to add to their heritage. While Tiger Mountain is a good first step, with another month to go I'm certain that you will make us proud (or at least make yourself proud) by doing something that will be noted and remembered by all, and that you will suitably be honored in commemoration of your act. You can do it, we're cheering for you!

  • Bruce Burnett
    Posted at 15:29h, 27 December Reply

    Funny you should mention. Lori and I were having that very conversation just yesterday. I feel that this island is in desperate need of guidance from high above. I know that I can easily administer this country, adding free education, health care, and employment. I will reduce corruption and save the environment by promoting Eco-tourism. Instead of selling off raw resources to the Chinese I will develop a manufacturing infrastructure.
    In exchange I would expect to have the appropriate number of statues built in my likeness. Stadiums and airports renamed in my honour. My face on the currency (along with flora, fauna, and industries I've developed). And an ongoing pick of young native girls. Sounds like a fair deal, no?

  • Maureen Burnett
    Posted at 20:37h, 27 December Reply

    I see it.I see it!

  • Jal Pari
    Posted at 10:33h, 09 December Reply

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