I had the most amazing weekend, it’s so surreal considering the people I’m with I barely know.
On Friday morning a new volunteer had arrived and so she joined us for breakfast. We clicked instantly as she is a similar age to me, 24. Her name is Laura and she’s from Australia. She’s a really sweet girl.
We left Andasibe on Friday morning at 8:30 to make it into Tana for around lunch time. When we got there we went on a tour of the kings and queens castle, which is also the highest point in the city so has the most amazing view.
PHOTO OF VIEW AND CASTLE
There was this awful tree that was full of spiders. It was my absolute worst nightmare. It made me paranoid about spiders the whole time! You really can’t see clearly in the picture – which is annoying.
Afterwards we checked in at the hotel, this was around 2 o’clock, so we had a late lunch there. The food was amazing! We had a starter of a egg salad – sounds weird but was really good! For the main course we had zebu and potatoes (How I have missed potatoes, there’s so much rice in Madagascar). And for dessert a cheese board! If you thought that was a lot of food we then had a sort of creamy yogurt thing: it was like I’d died and gone to heaven!
After eating so much I was ridiculously full. But we had a strict schedule to stick to so at four o’clock we headed back out into the market.
There was so many little stalls selling all sorts of souvenirs – from key rings, vanilla to handbags. I bought a few bits but it was slightly crazy, the layout meant that everything was crammed together, and the shipworm era were keen to make a sale. One woman actually chased me with a bag insisting that it was a “good deal”. I have to say it was slightly comical.
At the same time though I felt bad haggling with them when the country is so poor. And because of the exchange rate everything is still so cheap when converted to sterling.
Once we had all finished we headed back to the hotel. At eight o’clock we had another four course feast and I have to say I struggled considering I had eaten not long before!
When we checked out the next morning the hotel and food only came to 80,000 airy. Which is exactly £19.76 so ridiculuosly cheap!
Saturday morning we headed out to another lemurs park. However this one was very different from Vakona, where the lemurs are very used to people and being handled. This park is more about preserving there natural habitat and lifestyle.
We saw two babies, one of them was only 2 months old, so hung on the mothers tummy. Whereas the second was closer to 6 months, so he sat on the mothers back. It was funny to watch because as the mother was eating the baby would just climb al over her and she didn’t look like she even noticed.
We also saw some turtles and nocturnal lemurs, which are lot smaller.
Next we headed to the Chute de Lilly, which is an amazing waterfall in Ampefy. We had to climb downhill, which was difficult as it was really rocky and then we were right in front of it. It was quite surreal, and the photographs really don’t do it justice. Sadly it was named after a young girl who fell into the water and died, her body was never recovered.
The children of the village all swam and played in the water, it’s crazy to think they live next to such a beautiful part of nature and can access it whenever they like.
We drove and checked into a second hotel, which was even cheaper than the first one – only 40,000 including our food!
In the evening I ordered the zebu, it’s the only thing I knew on the menu, and fries. I was staying well away from anything with rice!
In the late afternoon we visited a site which marks the centre of Madagascar. It was beautiful. It looked almost like an island itself as it was surrounded with water.
On Sunday our last visit was to the geysers, I was given a mud massage on my arm by one of the guides. It was a very strange experience, and he wasn’t very gentle either. I hade the giggles throughout and every time I looked at Virgine I would just laugh more. All of the other volunteers also had a massage.
The site itself was lovely, and like with the waterfall it was amazing to see all of the local people just enjoying themselves.
The whole weekend was boiling, and a much more intense heat than Andasibe. It was also a little difficult because as always all of the staff and guides spoke much better French than English, so I was usually waiting for a translation from someone. It’s slightly frustrating, but I have grown to see the funny side: I’m generally pretty clueless until someone explains it to me. Saying that I have got better at reading body language and understanding some basic French. Just don’t test me on it!
The drive back to the village was very long. It took around six hours and I drew the short straw and had to sit in the middle seat: after about two hours I had a numb bum. Not enjoyable.
But it’s not all bad, when we got back we had fries for dinner! Woo! I was excited to get back to teaching on Monday. I kinda missed the kids over the weekend.