Back in Tana

Trip Start Oct 21, 2008
Trip End Nov 19, 2008

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hello everybody,

We arrived safely back in Tana last night after saying our good-byes to the rest of our group last night at the airport.  The tour portion of our trip is now finished but we are taking a few extra days here in the capital to do some shopping and to visit the lemur park tomorrow.

We had a great time over the past few weeks, here are a few of the highlights:

-  After leaving the capital we had a long drive to Ambositra where we got to visit artists doing traditional wood carving, we had dinner at a community center and participated in some rum drinking and traditional dancing.

- From Ambositra went to a near by village where they do traditional silk weaving. After a demonstration we went for a hike climbing a near by peak with the president of the mountain...or so he claims.  He performed a traditional ceremony at the tomb of the king of the mountain involving rum which he was reluctant to share with the rest of us.  About half way through the walk the heavens opened up soaking us completely.  We spent that night in a typical rural village which was very different.

- From the village we continued down the highway to a wildlife reserve run by a french couple where we got to see the Milne-Edwards Sifakas and Red fronted brown lemur. At night we get to see Brown mouse lemurs  and camillions.  We stayed in these neat bamboo bngalows in the middle of the jungle.

- From the nature reserve we went to Ambalavao where we stayed at a hotel that has a paper making factory attached. We went for an afternoon at a small community run reserve where we got up close with some ring-tail lemurs, many with young.  They didn't seem bothered by us.

- From Ambalavao we headed to Andringta national park for our first trek.  It was a beautiful park, spending three nights in tents as we treked though the mountains.  On the third day we climbed Pic Boby, the second highest peak in Madagascar. It rained quite a lot during the trek including a huge downpour as we were coming down from Pic Boby soaking us again. Luckily between the rain, the sun was hot to dry us out.

-  We said our good-byes to our awesome guides in Andringta, spend another night at the same hotel in Ambalavao, then headed to Isalo National Park for the next leg of the journey.  We went for an afternoon walk though some grasslands and stayed at a neat hotel in the middle of the desert.  It was like a place out of the movies.

-  The real treking in Isalo started the next day with a walk to Monkey canyon and Death canyon in search of lemurs.  The day was almost a bust until one of the guys on tour turned around near the end of the day and spotted a Verreaux Sifaka (known for the way it dances across the ground).  We got back to the "bus" seconds before a huge lightning storm hit.  We were impressed our driver got us out without getting stuck.  We camped three nights in the same campground in Isalo.  The second day's trek was a 17 km hike up a mountain ridge in 42oC heat.  The third day we got to see a lot of interesting things including scopions, snakes, spiders, lizards and stick bugs.  As we were having lunch that day, a huge storm suddenly hit us sending plates, cups and cutlery flying everywhere.  Our question of does it hail in Madagascar was answered... luckly we were eating under a small dining shelter which provided some cover,  but we were soaked that night.  I need to thank Phil for that poncho I stole from him back in August,  it has saved me numerous times this trip. That night we has a party back at camp with this amazing rum punch our local guide created, we only found out later that he ratios the rum and orange juice 1:1...a good time was had by all.

-  From Isalo we spent one night in Tulear before heading to Anako by speed boat.  We had a beach front bungalow and two days to do nothing.  We did some snorkeling which was really cool and ate a whole lot of fish.  Very relaxing.

-  Yesterday we killed the day back in Tulear before getting on the plane to fly back to Tana.  Interesting place, no metal detectors, no security....

I should be able to better keep this up to date now that I have internet available.  Hope all is well at home.

André & Gina
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frostyrunner on

Titans 9-0
Your Titans keep on rolling. Doing as well as your 11-1 Barons at home. Good to see all is well. Enjoy the last couple days below the Equator. Your house is fine and it's about -4 here.

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