Monday, May 02, 2011

Back To FranceWorld

Tuesday was our last day in Madagascar. It was a strange country to reflect upon.

For instance, our hotel in Tana was really well put together and very clean. The staff were super friendly. In general, the places we had stayed at were good to excellent by third world standards. In general, all the Malagasy we dealt with were pleasant to super friendly. In certain aspects the country is quite civilized.

On the other hand, it's one of the poorest places on Earth. If you tip someone 50 cents it's a huge deal to them. It's probably the last place on the planet that still has human powered rickshaws. What with the complete lack of any discernible industry, one wonders how anyone can make ends meet.

But there are no teeming slums. The beggars who beg are way less aggressive than in many other countries. It appears that most everyone gets at least something to eat.

Geographically it's not the most amazing place ever. At the same time there is a sort of originality about the place, what with its almost feudal European houses, undending rice paddies and terraces, and intensely tropical pastel landscapes. There really is an end of the world feeling as you drive along.

And then there are the lemurs. Yes, there are the endemic plants and trees and chamelons, but unless you are a botanist or zoologist you could see most of the island without noticing too much that was different. The lemurs, though--even if you only see a few of them--, are easily worth the price of admission. A lemur island back in the States would be a huge draw.

Anyway, today was for unwinding a bit. About the only thing on the agenda was to buy some souvenirs. So in the afternoon we took a cab about 5 miles out of town to where the handcrafts stalls were. Several hundred handcraft stalls. For about maybe 30 tourists a day. It was kind of uncomfortable knowing that no matter what we bought we would be disappointing about 99% of them. Especially since we had hardly any space left in our luggage for anything.

At 9 pm we were on our way out to the airport. At 10 pm we were at the end of a long, snaking line waiting to check in. At 11 pm we were waiting to board the Air Italy plane that was sitting right outside. At 1 am we were still waiting. At 1:45, two hours late, we were finally in the air. I popped some pills and knocked myself out for a few hours as we flew north towards the Sudanese desert.


At 9:01 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Verry interesting


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