Monday, 22 August 2016

Our Day in Antananarivo

After a good night’s sleep we tried our first breakfast in Madagascar. The hotel serves breakfast in the lobby. Most guests went for the standard breakfast of white bread and jam. I have read that we should expect this everywhere. The bread today looked fresh, but that will often not be the case. We decided to go for yoghurt and bananas (separate choices but we put them together.)

We then waited for Irina from our travel agency to come. I have been exchanging emails with her for months. It was fun to actually meet her. We reviewed the itinerary (with which I am totally familiar but Po is not). At the end of the meeting we paid her the rest of the money that we owed on the trip. Since we were using a credit card, she had to calculate the Euro bill into Ariary. It came to over 9,000,000. This is an expensive trip!

I have to say that I am quite pleased so far with Espace Mada. I was a little nervous about trusting a small agency here with our money and trip. But Irina seems to have everything under control. I mentioned that my birthday is the day we spend in Salary Bay on the coast. She said she will let them  know. I guess I might get a special treat.

After our meeting she walked us up the hill to a small tourist building where we booked a walking tour for the afternoon. (Our Espace Mada tour does not start until Tuesday.)

Since the walking tour did not start until 2:00, we headed back down to our hotel where we shared a pizza for lunch. It was quite good. Since we live in Pouch Cove, we cannot just pop in for a good pizza anytime we want, so whether it is in Madagascar or some other place, it was a nice treat. It was also a warm up for the great meal we ended up having there in the evening

In the afternoon we met up with our guide Max. We then proceeded on a three hour walk up and down the hills of Tana. It was quite a work out. We were happy that we had not tried to do this on our own. Max did a great job explaining the history of our various stops. We also learned things such as the fact that most Malagasy names start with Ra. And we might have gotten lost once or twice.

It was a bit warm but generally quite comfortable weather for a walk. The high was in the mid-20’s. Unfortunately there was a haze which I had to battle for my photographs. Generally we expect to have nice weather with highs in the 20’s and lows around 12 or higher. (For my American readers that means a high in the 70’s).

As noted, we went back to the hotel restaurant for supper. Since we have been advised to avoid walking after dark and the restaurant is probably as good as any in the area, we were content to dine both nights at the hotel. We both tried our first zebu. As I mentioned in last night’s blog, I guessed that the quality of the traditional Malagasy food was not up to the standard of the rest of the menu. I was right. The meal was very, very good. Oh, and it cost 40,000 Ariary, all of about $13 for the two of us.

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