Collecting in Anosibe an'Ala

Trip Start Jun 06, 2006
Trip End Jun 27, 2006

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Friday, June 30, 2006

One of my absolute favorite days was my trip to Anosibe an'Ala. It is located three hours south of Moramanga along a rough but passable road through the montains. The trip is gorgeous. However, there were many moments of prayer as the bus went over very narrow, partially broken, bridges, where a slight slip meant a very quick trip down the mountain. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, it was a beautiful day and the hills were just breathtaking. Just a few years ago, the trip would have taken three days by mule, but now, an amazing three hours.

The town is very nice, and I liked it very much. Once we arrived, I set out to find the two Peace Corp persons stationed here, Aaron and Jen (they also have a Travelpod website). I had communicated with the throught their website, and had hoped to meet them. I asked some children where to find them. Well, kids know everything that happens in their village, however, following these nimble creatures up narrow, twisting, very muddy trails was quite the thrill for this over-thirty, bumbling entomologist-to-be! Well, we found Jen and Aaron, and they volunteered to take us to the waterfalls, very kind people that they are. They first took us to the mayor (which is proper if you are visiting scientists). The route we followed went along a perfectly decent road that passed right next to their house (a bit ironic after my oh-so-lovely climb) and to the town square. After the official paperwork was filed very happily by the person-in-charge (with an offical red stamp and everything!) we were on our way.

The first waterfall was perfect, but very difficult and dangerous to access. Because of this, we didn't get much time there. We had a limited schedule and we had to stop at a stream we saw on our way in. So, after a short time we headed back to eat lunch. It rained on us, and the road was very muddy! But, it was so enjoyable to hear english spoken, and to able to speak it very quickly! I didn't even realize that i missed it until I heard it so clearly again!

After a quick lunch in the restaurant in town, we headed out. It had started to rain again, and we had about two 1/2 hours of daylight left, so we needed to get going if we were going to stop! We found one more spectacular waterfall, and then the driver stopped at the trail leading down to the Sacred River, very far below. A dangerous and muddy trail led the way. I slowly made my way down the trail, and was passed by two Malagasy women, each carrying two water buckets, who made their way with ease along this extremely steep and harrowing pathway. They giggled to see the silly foreigner covered in mud, completely soaked through, perched on the edge of the hill, barefoot and too freaked out to continue down the path. Ahhh, the glories of collecting insects!! One I arrived at the top, there was a whole group of friendly people waiting to greet me! Perfect! There is nothing better then an audience to witness your bumbling efforts to climb a wall of mud!  This time I had been smart, and brought extra clothes. This was good, as the window fo the bus was broken, and the air is very cold after the sun goes down!

We headed out of the mountains, making it through, which was a relief. there are checkpoints along the way, and if the rain is too heavy, they will not let you contine, as the road is just a dirt road, and becomes dangerously slippery in the rain.
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