Sunday, 4 September 2016

Full Day in Belo sur Mer

August 31

We woke to the sound of a gentle breeze and the lapping of waves. We were surprised to find that it was after 8. We had not slept this late for a long time. We had plenty of time to eat breakfast, so took our time.

There were sailboats on the water. A boutre, like the ones we saw being built yesterday, had anchored and a small pirogue was ferrying passengers to shore.

We wandered over to breakfast where a table was waiting. I had decided that tea would be better for my stomach than the strong Italian (And delicious, I had some at lunch yesterday) coffee that I had ordered for breakfast the night before. (Nothing is spontaneous on this trip. We order our dinners at check in, our breakfast beverages at supper the night before. Except for Tana, everyplace has been like this.) I tried to explain the change to the waitress. I should just have tried it all in my French. I was speaking English. I know I could have done it.  A Frenchman sitting in the corner jumped in and explained everything.

During breakfast the owner Laurence came by. She and the now involved French guest discussed my off and on stomach issues. They suggested it might be the malarial medication I was taking, Malorone. She suggested another type of medication instead of Imodium, which is good at stopping the symptoms, but does not really take care of the real issues.

In actual fact I was not really feeling that badly at this point, so think it was just a 24 hour tourist tummy issue.

Enough of this topic, we also discussed our plans for the day. José is to take us to the neighbouring village, Menaky, that is in the other direction than Belo. It is about an hour’s walk away. We will walk along the beach for about an hour. They will show us their project of cultivating algae and provide us with a traditional lunch.

Laurence then set up her iPad so we could use her Internet connection. It worked really well so I quickly tried to do some updates on Facebook and the blog.

We met up with José and headed down to the beach. There were a few boats but only a couple of people, no tourists. There are no other hotels in the immediate area of the beach, so it is just the guests of the lodge that would be walking there. When we could see the village across a lagoon,  José phoned them to get us a lift in a pirogue. Yes, there was cell coverage there. We were told to walk a bit further and soon thereafter a pirogue arrived and took us across.

We were met by some children. They have been instructed to not call out things like the “waza bon bon” that we hear everywhere. We were shown a sheet on the project and then the actual area where they cultivate algae. The algae is green when it is in the water. It is dried until it turns red. An extract is taken from the algae that is used in many products, from toothpaste to shoe polish to shampoo to condoms. It is an interesting project.

The village visit is an ecotourism project. After visiting the algae site, we had a quick tour of the village and the came back to a table under a tree. We were feed a traditional Malagasy meal. There were two types of fish, one of which was barracuda cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. The other was a dried fish of some type. They were tasty but most of these fish test my ability to eat fish with many bones.

As lunch finished Jozy asked if we wanted to hire a pirogue to take us all the way back to the hotel. We agreed that would be a great thing, so negotiated a price. At first Jozy told us their two person price, that he would walk. Po said that he should come in the boat too, so we agreed to a price for all three of us. It was 30,000 Ariary or about $10.

We headed down to the water. The pirogue came quickly. It had a mast but the sail was not up. When I was instructed that my seat was in the bottom of the boat, they gave me the sail to sit on. We headed down the lagoon. My seat was quite comfortable. The land extends quite a bit to the north so the crew of two did what we call in Canada a portage, carrying the pirogue across the sand to the channel. We put into the channel. I offered my comfortable seat to Po.

We found the seas much rougher that the lagoon. The crew struggled with our weight in the waves. They decided to go ashore and drop Jozy off. Even after that they still struggled. Waves were washing into the boat. Po was getting quite wet. So much for my kind offer of giving her the good seat. It became apparent that this was not a good idea so I motioned for them to take us both to the beach. We then walked the rest of the way with Jozy. We had our experience in a pirogue on the sea.

For the rest of the afternoon we just took it easy, for the first time since we arrived. Supper was excellent and plentiful as expected. We again ate with Przemek and Magda. In addition to sole we had a dish with squid in a tomato sauce that I lapped up and accepted the offer of having more brought to the table.

Another topic of discussion the last couple of days has been Po’s tooth. She had a temporary filling put in a couple of days before we left. That tooth is now bothering her a lot. She said something about not wanting to be stuck with it she is out in the middle of nowhere. I pointed out that she was already there. Laurence had told us about an Italian hospital a couple of days further into our trip that might have a dentist. We hope it does not come to that.

We did a few things on the Internet, admired the stars some and went off to bed.

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