From Matt - As you will see below the rest of my family arrived in 'Tana last night. Very strange to be sitting around in Madagascar so far from home with all my brothers and my mother! I really wish our wives were here too! It's hard to even think about them without getting soggy eyes. I figure we are laying the groundwork for a future visit here with them included.
We had to scoot out of Cairo without time to really make a good entry about our last day there so here is what I had left to say about Cairo. After all the hassle with our driver and the extortion at the Pyramids we assumed it would be the same in Old Cairo at Khan-Al-Kahllili. (sp?) We were pleasantly surprised when just the opposite happened. As we told you Rush had been a little sick but was ready to go shopping for his mother and his brother so off we went. It was very hot. Over 100. The heat and the bad tummy made Rush start to look a little pale and he was getting dizzy. He said he needed a bathroom NOW so I started to find
the Coffee Shop we were looking for. It was not fast enough for Rush so we ran into a shop and ask for a toilet FAST. We were pointed toward a Mosque so I grabbed Rushes hand and we ran for the Mosque. After removing our shoes the man at the door quickly and with great concern took us to the 'hole in the ground'. Rush made it and we were all happy. The man at the Mosque was so helpful and understanding. We finally found the famous coffee shop and sat down for tea and a "shisha". Rush was a little pale still and an Egyptian gentleman at the adjoining table ask if there was anything he could do. We thanked him and told him we would be OK with a little water and a rest under the fan. Without us knowing he sent the waiter to buy some kind of herb to help Rush. He brought it over to our table and explained that this would help. We were definitely NOT going to give Rush something that we knew nothing about so we thanked him profusely. Everyone in the market area was trying to sell something to us
and were all very kind. We had a blast negotiating and bought cool stuff. (to Jill and Mac - your gift saved our hides this day!)
I had been waiting all my life to stand in the shadow of the Pyramids and was moved to be there even with all the trouble. I couldn't wait to get there and we couldn't leave fast enough!! After we finish this trip I will sit down and enter a blog with practical info if you ever want to see the pyramids.
We arrived in Tana thursday night and were met by Assany and his family. They took us to their home and had enough food for a small family for a week laid out on the table! There were at least 6 dishes for the appetizers none of which were very reconisable! We ate and ate and ate!! Assanys family speaks no english and we speak no Malagasy or French (yet). So Assany had to translate all night and I'm not sure if he ate very much! Their hospitality was boundless. The next morning we were greeted by a great sunrise and Antananarivo was beautiful. Very hilly and lots of French
looking buildings. We could have been in the french hill country for all we knew. Assanys family gathered us up and off we went to the Crocodile Farm. WOW. They raise Nile Crocodiles there in a sustainable manner that is accepted by the International foundation that oversees endangered species. The animals are harvested for the food and hides in a manner that is benefitial to not only the Malagasy people but also the Nile Crocodile. Rush describes it well below. Aroun
Today is the day we all made this trip for. The 24 Malagasy students are going thru a graduation ceremony here for the President of Madagascar and the families of the students. This will be followed by a reception at The Presidential palace. I will actually shave and put on a suit! I know that is hard for some of you to imagine so I'm sure we will post pictures in the future to prove it! I am going to miss the reception and am giving up my plane ticket to ride with Lazir and his wife to Northern Madagascar. This will be a 24 hour drive and we should arrive in Diego Suarez in time for the
beach party being given in Assanys honor. This is his home town. Comminicating on this drive will be very interesting because no one in the van will speak english! It should be a great adventure.
From Vance - had to pay a bribe ($US30) to get OUT of Egypt.....another very smooth scam....anyone going to Egypt needs to talk to me before they go, i will fill you in....madagascar is pretty cool....they have some pretty awesome minerals here...going to the north tomorrow and having a beach party with all of assanys family and friends....actually enjoying myself being away from the office and work, don't feel awkward about not being there....seeing how people live in these countries makes me feel very fortunate and blessed...i will try not to fuss about my troubles any more....miss my wife, miss my son, thanks for keeping up...
From Karl - Wow this is cool. Long day on the airplane. My butt feels like it has been on my motorcycle for 20 hours. I have never flown that far in one sitting. It did go by quickly with a few movies and a nap. We were greeted at the airport by Rush, Matt, Vance,
Assany, Assany's Dad, brother & sister-in-law. It was a nice greeting. It was interesting to see the sunset and rise so quickly together. It was a beautiful site. I woke to the sunset this morning overlooking the city out our hotel room. I had to go for a walk to stretch my back after sitting so long yesterday. A lot of people were carrying baskets on their heads. i noticed one guys basket moving a little too much and as I looked closer his basket was full of live ducks. He had the top closed with the ducks heads sticking out. It was a humorous site to see. The city already moving quickly early in the morning and it was cool to see the locals. The city was dark last night and didn't look too busy or full and I was surprised at how many houses, etc were around when the sun rose. I miss my girls. I hope Brianna is having fun in AZ and Averi is having a good first week of 4th grade. I love you both sooooo much. I hope your getting your bike out more Michele. Be safe. Love Karl.
From Mariana - The
very best part of being here is being with my "boys" and seeing them see all these things! I've reserved a special place in my memory bank for all these moments. Karl has well described our arrival. Seeing Matt, Vance & Rush from a distance as we waited go get through the line for stamping our passports made the 10,000 miles worth it. I had breakfast with Virginia (Chambers) & Barbie Johnston this morning (with Karl & Vance). Rush slept on the floor between Karl's bed and mine so he stayed asleep while we ate. We are all sitting around getting caught up and enjoying the stories first hand. Rush is having Coke for breakfast! We are to meet Assany's dad at 12:30 to go eat lunch at his brother's house. Graduation is at 3:00. Reception following that. In the morning, four of us will fly to Assany's home. Matt is going to ride a 24-drive with Assany's brother in order to see more of the country. Wish I had the time . . . I would do it with him. Gotta go get my passport. Later....
From Rush - Yesterday we went to the crocodile farm. It was
awsome!!!! We saw crocs , ostriches, fusa, giant turtle, turkeys, snakes, and lizzards!!!!!!! Then we went to the market place and bought rocks and instruments. that was our day. BYE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Behind schedule, batteries running low and I need to pack! No photos this time. Will check in once we get to Diego Suarez!
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