Buffeted & Baked (at least the nights are cool)
Trip Start Oct 02, 2010
27Trip End Nov 06, 2010
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Where I stayed
Hotel vieux Boabab
We set off from Tana early on the 12th after another relaxing day in and around Tana-Jacaranda. Went with the Trans-Post option, although be careful what you pay for here, nothing is as it seems. Rather than a quaint view of their postal service, with a certain romance and nostalgia, we were greeted by a rather large group of people and baggage, all attempting to embark on a rather small mini-bus
So, there we were, two six foot-odd Australians, a massive Sth African, two reasonably sized Frenchies, a lovely Moroccan, nine Malagasy not including the driver and enough baggage to start a mid-sized UN mission. Did I mention that it was hot? 600km doesn't sound like much to us but the roads here (even the "highway") are special to say the least, and the towns difficult to negotiate. No leg room and few stops put everyone in varying states during the trip. Ten hours, and now the equal third on my list of worst bus rides. And that's competing with the infamous (I think I've mentioned it to you all) 13.5 hour sleeper bus in Vietnam, the hairy 8.5 hour ride in Nepal and the agonising detour (complete with regular throwing up from one poor girl) in Hanoi during the floods
Mahajunga is a little strange. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty in places, full of nightlife and a never ending supply of Pousse-Pousse (the local version of a rickshaw). What's strange, or perhaps not when you consider the heat, is the complete shutdown in the middle of the day, and the haphazard approach to town-planning that leaves you wondering if it's a restaurant, hotel, public building or private house. The people here also have a fairly casual and independant approach to signage, roads and businesses. They're there, you just have to look. The sea, like so many other places, makes the heat bearable. We swam in the Mozambique Channel, which is very salty, though a great way to cool down. Our first Baobab's are here too, although I'm told they are a different species to the ones further south
On to plans. We've changed again. The Taxi-Brousse to Nosy Be takes nearly 20 hours. No way, no how, not again. That's at least 3 ten hour days (note I've allowed for stuff ups). Maybe after the Dhow trip in Nosy Be, but not before. So we've booked the cheapest direct flights from Mahajunga to Nosy Be for Thursday. This gives us some more beach time, some national park time and relaxation. We've decided to move from where we are (it's downtown) to a place near the smaller beach (unbelieveably cheaper and in bungalow style accomodations with mod con's). So it's a diet of relaxation and acclimatisation. Sorry this has taken me so long, blah, blah, but we're both slowing down a litle. If anything I've said sounds negative I'll explain it this way. The Malagasy have an expression, Mura Mura (sorry for speling) which translates as Slowly Slowly. Might be time to try taking their advice. Blog soon (I'll be a good little writer), Khaz and Rhiannon.