We were at breakfast by shortly after 7, but the dining room was already busy. This is a get away day for most people, so about 4 tourist vehicles will be heading south after breakfast. Po got her hot milk with her breakfast, but other than that there were no special surprises like French pastries or yoghurt.
The Salary Bay Hotel is likely to be the fanciest hotel we will stay in during our trip.The architecture is spectacular. The service is very good. And they gave me birthday cake. The sea there is just amazing. But Po and I would both say that we preferred the Entremer in Belo sur Mer. It was so intimate. We were also given a better room there, the one that was right next to the beach. We were given a room on the “wrong” side of the Salary Bay Hotel. The ones behind us had a spectacular view of the sea. We looked through some trees to the quiet part of the bay.
We left Salary and headed out on the sandy trail. But today was not nearly as bad as the day before yesterday. The sand was not that deep. We could see the channel for a long time. The little fishing villages and coves were quite beautiful.
We finally hit a point where José said, “That’s it. The bad roads are over.” I let out a cheer. We had survived about 1,000 kilometres of the most nasty driving you can imagine. We had a flat tire, got stuck, got shook side-to-side and up and down. But it was worth it. We got to see some baobabs we would not have otherwise and stay in a couple of really nice beach front hotels with only a hand full of guests at each. We ate seafood that had been purchased from the fisherman that morning. We saw boat building and watched the fishermen go out and return from the sea. And I got to take lots of photographs, including many on demand portraits.
Shortly after Jozy’s announcement we hit a perfectly smooth road and then a miracle, a paved road. Thank you, Chinese government, which has apparently funded it.
We pulled into Tulear. Like Morandava, it is a very busy place. We drove down some streets that were all market. The roads were jammed with pousse pousse everywhere.
We checked into our hotel, The Escapade. It is not on the beach, which is fine with us since we have been seeing enough of the beach. We are more in the middle of the town’s activities. We were shown our room. It is in the back of the hotel, off a little garden. Everything looks a little dated, but seems quite clean and comfortable. We then went back to the dining room. It is an upstairs patio which looks out towards busy Independence Avenue.
We ordered lunch. Since lunch was not part of our package, we had to pay but could also choose anything we wanted off the menu. There were seafood crepes. I have never been known to pass up crepes. But the seafood was all calamari in an overly rich sauce. I worked away at the crepe but left much of the calamari. The manager came over. He was quite concerned that I did not finish. I assured him that the food was okay since he seemed so concerned.
According to José we were supposed to have high speed Internet. As I later told him, it was not up to the Mad Zebu standards, but I did manage to do a little posting on Facebook and the blog.
We went for a walk. We looked for the market that we had driven through. Along the way I picked up a friend, a little girl who started talking to me about chocolate. We chatted for a long time as Po and I walked down to the market and came back out. We talked about things like chocolate, where we were from, names, etc., nothing in depth and all testing my French. Finally she said she was heading home and off she went. Of all the photographs I have not managed to get on this trip, this will be my greatest regret. I have no photograph of my little friend in Tulear.
We finished our walk at the taxi brousse station which was just around the corner from our hotel. There were buses going to many different places. The tops were being loaded with luggage, furniture, bicycles, chicken carriers, and more. Some taxi brousses would go off with the top being as big as the actual vehicles. It was a busy, busy place.
When we went to supper we were the only customers. We have seen no other guests. There were a couple of people in the restaurant when we arrived, but that is it. It does not look like their business is going all that well if Po and I are supporting several staff.
Before dinner I made a decision about the Malarone, our malarial medication. Back at the Entremer, Laurence had said that my bowel problems might be caused by the pills, as my condition (trying to be delicate here, this is a family blog) is a known side effect. Since I seemed to get better, I stayed on the Malarone, but during our stay in Salary Bay I had to deal with it again. So, this evening I decided I would stop with the Malarone and see what happens. We have only seen about two mosquitos our entire time here. We will spend a couple of day in the rain forest, where I suspect we might see many, but the odds have to be quite slim on getting malaria at this time of the year.
Since our supper was part of the half board basis, we were given a choice of three things for each course. I was sure I did not want any more calamari. In fact I needed a change of pace from fish. What I really wanted was pizza, and I think they have it on their regular menu, but we were not offered that. Po and I both ordered zebu steaks.
The steak was a bit rare for my tastes, I just picked around the edges. The manager came again to see why I had not eaten everything. He seemed quite happy when I said it was due to the fact that it was under cooked. He could fix that! He took the steak back and had it cooked some more. Po had not finished hers, but he did not seem to care about that. I dutifully finished mine after it came back.