Jorge finds his buddies

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Don't worry... about a ting... cause every little ting... is gonna be alright!"  Haha, it never gets old!  I love waking up with nothing that I HAVE to do.  Breakfast is simple (toast, jam, fruit and juice) yet peaceful as I beat all the other patrons to the lodge.  Mr. Florent, Harry and ANOTHER guide name Fidy (pronounced like 50 Cent would say "fiddy") show up just on time to whisk me away to Andasibe National Forest.  I now have not one, not two, but three people helping me, a 25 year-old guy who isn't used to being waited on.  One opens a door for me while another takes my bag.  I say "merci" but don't really need this much attention or assistance and request that it stop!  Fidy is a local guide who will join us for the day to help Mr. Florent and I spot animals and explain the flora and history of the area. 

We are the first ones in the park in order to catch the lemurs in the early morning, but we have no luck for the first 45 minutes.  Not until we run into another group of hikers do we start seeing any action.  When it rains, it pours... and we see a whole bunch of lemurs (brown, golden, and Indiri Indiri) in one small section of the national forest. 

Speaking of rain, the skies are undecided and there seems to be a constant change of weather as light sprinkles turn on and off throughout the trek.  The hike is a solid four hours and we see all sorts of birds, chameleons, frogs, fish, spiders, butterflies, and a myriad of flowers and plants. 

I'm easily a foot and then some clear of Mr. Florent and Fidy so I get a much better view of the various spider webs that seem to be situated exclusively above 5'0" and below 6'4"!

Hiking through the thicket makes us all tired and we find a cute little restaurant/roadside stand to eat at.  I order the river trout and get exactly that.  The fish comes out and looks like it was just caught a few minutes earlier and thrown on the grill.  Working to debone the fish makes me hungrier than ever and I devour my meal as if I hadn't eaten in days.  I taste Mr. Florent's meal, and then he tells me that it is river eel (also freshly caught) at which point I contemplate being disgusted, but it was too good for that.  A glass of vanilla rum later (Mr. Florent insisted on us having the local spirits) and we headed back to Andasibe to try and find the elusive bamboo lemurs.  The rain subsided and we found four bamboo lemurs (the smallest species - less than 2 lbs) within minutes of entering the park.

After a pit stop (and much needed shower) at the hotel, I head out on a solo hike to find an island dubbed "Lemur Island" where the lemurs are plentiful and accustomed to humans, although still wild.  A short canoe ride later and I discover Lemur Island to be a treasure much like the Lion Park was in Jo'burg.  There are easily 30 Lemurs on this small island and they are a little too friendly, if that is possible.  I'm able to feed them bread and bananas that I have brought from the lodge and they hop on my back, arms and head. 

I actually got nervous at one point that they would swarm me and rip away my bag to find more food!  The experience is very similar to that of the Lion Park in that I get to interact with the animals and am fascinated by them.  Their hands and feet feel exactly like those of a little kid.  Their eyes are constantly wide open and although they don't appear to be smart, you can tell they are based on the way they beg for food like Buddy would.  They interact with each other like a group of children, constantly barking/yelping/whooping at each other and squabbling over who is next to harass me for food!  Once the food is gone and they lose interest in my presence on the island, I head back to the hotel to rest and have dinner.

At dinner I meet the first really white person I've seen since arriving.  He's Danish traveler who reveals that he travels for his J-O-B!  He works for Thomas Cook as a travel arranger or something.  Basically he gets paid to travel to exotic locales and set up tours for people from Scandinavia... I could totally do that!  I should do that!!!
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