A trip in Africa in the places we serve usually involves some or all of these......sand, mud, heat, humidity, rain, bartering, getting lost, someone being sick, conversations or parts of them lost in translation, rain, lush beauty, being laughed at, traffic, rain, mosquitos and other bugs, beautiful beaches and lots and lots of fun! Memories are made that will be cherished forever, looked back upon, retold and expanded like the size of the fish.
So when some friends offered us a trip to Antananarivo (or Tana), the nation's capital, over Easter, promising an adventure, we jumped at the chance! We began our journey at 4:00am as we were taking our friend's family, who had been guests on board, to the airport in Tana. A large percentage of our crew fly into Tana and take a bus to the ship in Tamatave.
As we travelled out of Tamatave I was amazed at the number of people beginning their day so early in the morning, walking along the side of the road carrying large loads, when normally I would be snug in my bed. The sun rose behind us in brilliant oranges and reds, the weather sticky and warm, even at that hour of the day. We watched the signposts of Malagasy town names flash by as we continued our windy, mountainous journey. Lush greenery surrounded us on every side and we began to see a different side of the island.
After a few hours on the road we made a pit stop at a roadside Pizzeria, of all things. We got the owners out of bed! It was definitely time for coffee!!
Jess was none to happy about the early morning start and after I drugged her with Dramamine for motion sickness, it was a little hard to rouse her to get out of the car.
A photo cannot capture the beautiful countryside. Whereas Tamatave is pretty much completely flat, Tana is at a much higher elevation and is full of steep streets.
Street sights....Soupe Chinoise or Chinese Soup anyone? A regular staple on the Malagasy menu where the Asian influence is very evident! #bestspringrollseva
A colourful shop advertising said drinks, my all time favourite in Madagascar being Grenadine, reminiscent of Australian Creamy Soda!
How so many Malagasy feed their families and make a difficult and backbreaking living, working the rice paddies right in the middle of town.
Another view over the city centre including the "heart shaped" lake, Lac Anosy. For those Amazing Race fans, season 10 of the Amazing Race include a leg in Antananarivo, Madagascar!
Next we headed into town for a closer look at the sights. Taking a leaf out of Hollywood, the giant Antananarivo sign with the Queen's Palace to the right, stands tall and proud.