The lemur hunt begins
Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
171Trip End Oct 01, 2008
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I stop by my favorite little market and find my favorite two guys trying to sell me some books from 1960 (it seems as though everything here is from 1960). I graciously decline but tell them that I will be back on Wednesday or Thursday if they want to play cards again or try again to sell me one of the few English books they have in their store.
Hiking up the hillside with my new 'do, I discover that the Queen's Palace is closed for reconstruction.
Side note: 2 days ago my Mother informed me that my Grandpa had a fall and was in the hospital awaiting surgery. Today, my Father updated me that the situation may be a little worse than I had previously understood. I think about having just seen him for my grandparents 65th wedding anniversary (see one of the first entries) and realize how far away I really am. I feel horrible and useless but know that there wouldn't be much I could do even if I was at home. My thoughts are with him and I hope that he wakes up and makes a swift and full recovery!
Mr. Florent is right on time and we snag a bite to eat and hit the road. He has his own driver named Harry!!! We load up a brand new chevy and I'm excited to have my very own driver and guide! The three hour trek is windy as all hell (heck?) but the views are spectacular. Mr. Florent says that he thinking it will rain unfortunately as it is rainy season, but I tell him that I'm the luckiest man in the world and not to worry. The country side is poorer than the city, however, everyone seems happy in the places we stop and no one asks me for money or to buy something in these smaller towns. Rice paddies are to Madagascar as strip malls are to New Jersey. A few dirt roads, pot holes and some good wildlife later (we see the largest chameleon Mr. Florent has ever seen), we reach our destination without a drop of rain falling: Vakona Forest Lodge (www.hotel-vakona.com). I drop my bag in my room and we head right out for a night bush walk.
On the walk, Mr. Florent (I love saying Mr. before his name cause that's what he says) is disheartened by the fact that we don't see anything for the first 20-25 minutes.
I remind him that I'm the luckiest man on earth and to be thankful that the weather is so amazing. He agrees and within 2 minutes we spot our first frog. Four minutes later we see a troop of 8 or 9 lemurs even though Mr. Florent had just got done saying that they usually travel alone or in packs of 3 at most.
I think he finally believes my luck as he is more animated than Mickey Mouse when Harry picks us up at the end of our walk, telling him how many lemurs we saw. Back at Vakona Lodge for dinner, I eat a real meal alone for the first time and realize how much fun this year is going to be but how lonely it could get. Bananas flambee and I fall asleep under my mosquito net wondering how my Grandpa is doing...
Where I stayed