Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Madagascar: Baobab Love

I went to Madagascar with three visual goals in mind.  I wanted to see baobabs, chameleons, and of course, lemurs.  Thanks to our sunset adventure on the Allée de Baobabs, we could cross two of the three off the list (although I was still obsessed with finding a chameleon in the wild).  Our next goal was to find the lemurs.  We woke up bright and early on the morning we were to venture to Kirindy National Forest.  Our guide, a man we had found at the tourist office the previous day, promised to meet us at our hotel at four thirty in the morning with a 4x4 vehicle (or quatre-quatre, as they call it in French) to take us to the national park.  He wanted to show us sunrise at the Allée, and since we had to drive up that road anyway, we decided to take him up on the early morning pick up.  At five in the morning, he still hadn't arrived.  We began to feel uneasy.  After all, we had paid for part of the trip up front.  Ten minutes later he pulled up in our quatre-quatre explaining that the vehicle he intended to pick us up in had broken down.  We clambered into the back and began the 60km venture to Kirindy.  We stopped at the Allée for the last part of sunrise and were soon back in the vehicle.  Soni, our guide, began to talk about Baobab love.  We didn't really understand what he meant, but after twenty minutes on a road covered mostly in water, we came to the spot.  Baobab Love is what the Malagasy call a twisted baobab.  Two different sections of the tree, or maybe two individual trees, twist together as they grow.  Soni pulled the quatre-quatre over several times  to show us these trees.  We also stopped at a couple different villages. In one, we had a questionable breakfast from a hotely.  The breakfast consisted of a cake of sweet fried dough (which were really delicious) and a tea stirred together with sweetened condensed milk.  The cup that the tea came in had been used by the customers before us and rinsed out as we came up to the food stand.  People crowded around us calling us vahaza (Malagasy for foreigner, usually referring to white people) as we ate.  Our next village stop was to purchase some honey and to sample a root that tasted very similar to a potato.  Finally we were back on the road and on our way to the lemurs.  

baby baobab

Amanda with breakfast

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