I'm bored... He says

Trip Start Feb 12, 2006
Trip End May 12, 2008

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Friday, January 5, 2007

January 4, 2007

"I'm Bored...He says"

Okay, so here is how our most recent "adventure" began. It's New Year's Day & we decide to walk downtown to visit a friend. As we're strolling towards the market, Aaron looks at me and says, "I'm bored, let's walk to Moramanga." My response, "Okay, but let's take our bikes." Thus began our 74 km (44.4 mile), 2 day bike trip.

We purchased some one cent bananas, several ears of field corn and tons of litchis to sustain us on our venture. Back at the house we added some crackers, fake cheese and a large pack of homemade deer jerky (thanks Dad- so good- wonderful, sweet protein) to our basket and strapped it on the back of Aaron's bike along with a waterproof tent. My bag was filled with 5 bottles of water, one extra pair of pants, some meds, 2 headlamps & a sheet.

We left our site at 1pm and the first few hours were filled with exciting adventure through lush, green rice fields, beautiful valleys and tons of cascading waterfalls . Several of which we explored, cooling off in the crystal clear, cold water (not yet polluted) flowing from mountain springs.

After about 5 hours of up-hill traveling on the rock-strewn, rutted road, getting off to push, sweat-soaked shirts against backpacks that seem to be gaining weight our cheeriness was beginning to wear off and I started to question our sanity. It was getting late, the dark clouds were rolling in (little did we know a cyclone was brewing off the coast) and we wanted to make it to PK35, a little past the half way mark. We kept telling each other, "Oh-it is around this corner, I recognize this rock, we'll be there soon," then "I think it's around this corner." We started to ask people how far, only to get the dreaded response "mbola lavitra!" (still far). After about 20 more "It's the next town" or "It's over this hill" we finally arrived at dusk, found a little flat area on the side of the road near some water (dirty) and primary forest and pitched the tent. Of course, we couldn't figure out how to properly fit the rain cover, which almost drove me to madness! Aaron said it didn't matter and collected fire wood to prepare our dinner- cow corn in the husk thrown on the fire. It was lovely standing by the fire, munching on the fruit of the land prepared by my sweet hubbie. I turned on my headlamp to make sure I wasn't touching it with my dirty hands to discover worms also enjoying my corn. I considered eating them (Peace Corps life sometimes does things like this) but instead ate around them. Aaron had already finished his- no discussion on the friends in his.

7:30pm we are laying twisted in the tent to avoid the stumps, rocks and weeds that our sheet is not cushioning us from. The frogs, insects and birds are making an incredible ruckus, the full moon rising over the trees brightens the sky and we hear footsteps crunching on the rocky road of local people heading home for the night.

9:00pm- Rocks thrown at tent by a bunch of kids- Aaron yells, they run

10:30pm- It starts to sprinkle. The edges of the tent feel wet.

11:30pm- Heavy rains now, I suggest to Aaron not to touch the sides of the damp tent.


11:35pm- Our sheet is soaked, our clothes are wet, water is still coming in, rain is still falling.

11:36pm- Exit the tent! (in my socks) Take plastic from under tent and try to put it on top (too small).

11:39pm- Back in tent. Sitting on a plastic bag & one semi-dry pair of pants, each have a backpack on our laps and our backs are leaning against each other.

11:42pm- Singing ridiculous songs, laughing, questioning our sanity.. again.

11:45pm- Wondering if sunrise will ever come, wondering if this may be the worst night of our lives, wondering the validity of our waterproof tent.

12:30am- Aaron gives in, exhausted and lays on the wet floor, our basket of litchis and bananas acting as a pillow. We wrinkled up the floor to make a mini-moat and dug in.

1am- My legs are pulsating from sore muscles, take an ibuprofen, rain slacks some, I fall asleep on Aaron.

4am- Alarm on watch goes off- hit snooze.

4:30am Tent packed with all the wet stuff inside. Eat a banana. Relieved it is not raining. Wet clothes, soaked shoes, sore muscles.

5am- Get back on bikes- WOW! Sore bums! Almost to the point of tears.

Luckily the rest of the way was fairly flat, though the pain of hitting the numerous potholes was amplified by the weight of our packs & we realized that our bike seats were not seats at all, but rather some sort of torture device.

I return to the spirit of adventure as I hear Indri lemurs howling in forest. The first time I have heard them in the wild- really exciting.

Nothing to do, but sit on our bruised bums, look at the ground and pedal hard. The last 35km takes 3 hours including many breaks to eat litchis along the way.

8am- We triumphantly ride into Moramanga, covered in dirt, stinky, grimy & grubby, vowing never to attempt it again by bicycle. But people here bike and walk the 74km all the time, we are such wimps!

Later, when we returned to site and proudly told our friend that we rode to Moramanga, he asked how long it took us and then shook his head and replied, "you are slow like chameleon."

What do we say to that!?
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