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Published: October 15th 2007
At last back in Europe...
Although not without casualties!!!!
We arrived Wednesday afternoon and Thursday I spent all day going from one hospital to another trying to find out if I had no Malaria!!
Well, in the evening when I arrived in the 2nd hospital, just after seeing my GP, I realized I got covered with tons of boils in only 1/2 hour...and my temperature had risen to 39.5°!!!
So they kept me in the emergencies, looking for all the possible tropical diseases: Malaria, Dengue fever, Cholera, Pest, etc...
I did not have any of these, but I picked up some kind of Chickenpox! (Varicelle, Windpokken)
I stayed 3 nights and 3 days in the hospital in isolation, as I was highly contagious. I received plenty of Zovirax through my veins and now I am back home feeling much better. (you can see the evolution of my face during the process on the pictures at the end and on the video...)
Meanwhile, Nadja is very week and tired in Berlin. She went today to the Tropeninstitut, and she probably has been attacked by the good old Giardia Lamblia. But we're waiting for the results...
If everything goes
according to plan though, I'll go to Berlin this WE. And I'll bring Nadja back in my luggages to live in Brussels.
Then about Madagascar:
It was much "easier" to travel in the east than in the west. We saw a few more backpackers too, among them a very nice couple from Madrid (Hola Murielle y Juan). We went to a rain forest and to dream islands... We still got ripped off, but this time at least with a smile :-)
Now I am getting very lazy with this blog so, again, I'll post a text that Nadja wrote.
And fore more detailed stories, personal information, pictures, video, sounds: you can invite us any time for dinner and we'll give you a full Malagasy experience...
here I am, sitting in an Internet Café in Berlin, freezing my butt off... Frédéric is back in Brussels, and me, yep, already back in Berlin. ...But only for a few days to pack up all my stuff and to leave the country by October 22... for good??!!
Sorry the emails from Madagascar were so scarce, but most of the time there was no internet access
and if there was, it was pretty slow. Most of the time we were lucky to have a half way decent bed, and electricity and running water was a luxury...!
I spent my birthday in our most expensive lodge on the beach in Morondava (west coast), which was really nice after so much heat and dust!! 😊
The past 2 or 3 weeks we traveled towards the East coast, stayed a few days in the Andasibe rain forest, where it rained almost all the time (believe it or not! haha) and we froze at night. We saw the biggest lemur there, the Indri Indri, which makes a very strange sound.
Then Tamatave and the last week on the beautiful islands Sainte Marie and Ile aux Nattes.
The only negative part was when we found out that one of the beautiful, romantic beaches we first went to, was used by the locals a few meters further down as the... public toilet with poop all over it!!! YUCK!!!! All of a sudden I didn't really feel like swimming anymore... :o)
I found the eastern part of Madagascar very different from the western part. Despite the fact that it
rained constantly with a few sunny moments in between, the people are also very different. It seems that the eastern part is a lot wealthier, almost everyone spoke French quite well, whereas in the West almost no one did, which indicates that almost everyone in the East has at least elementary school education. Poverty is a lot worse in the West, even though the East is not "rich" either. It seems there is no "middle class" anywhere and I have never experienced a country where the poverty has struck me at such an extreme... Anywhere but on Sainte Marie and Ile aux Nattes. There, people seem to be quite well off.
Antananarivo, Tamatave and the 2 islands reminded me a bit of Cuba, where the women are desperately looking for a vazaha (white tourist), dressing sexy and flirting as much as they can. Many very young girls clinging on some old, fat, disgusting white guy's neck... A few hours before our flight we went to a concert in Antananarivo and Frédéric got huge smiles when we entered the place. They all looked quite disappointed when they saw me appear behind him... he he he.
What an experience, Madagascar.
I have heard so many good things about it and absolutely wanted to go. It was definitely a very interesting trip and I am happy I went. I must say however, that I have rarely been on such an exhausting trip with so many negative experiences, e.g. being ripped off constantly, disgusting food, disgusting beds, crippling poverty everywhere. Maybe it was us, but I definitely think that you need a lot of money to travel Madagascar. If you are a backpacker and on a budget like us, it is VERY, VERY hard and frustrating.
We had a conversation with a French woman who has been living in Madagascar for 11 years and she said that things have changed in the past 3 years. Poverty has gotten worse and people are desperate to make some money, no matter how. Many can not even afford to send their kids to school, because they have to pay for the simple uniform and the note books and even that is too much. Most white travelers come on organized tours which cost a lot of money and most have no idea of what Malagasy life is like. It really upset me whenever I heard
some tourist say "oh gosh, this is only € 4". They totally ignore the fact that many Malagasy only make about € 20 a month! So since everything is "so cheap" to the vazahas and since "we" are "so rich", we found that people find it totally ok to rip us off and make us pay 10 times the Malagasy price. It seems that it has come to a point where you are expected to "give" (money, pens, candy) because you just have so much money because you are white and you come from the "West". In a way it is true, but in another it is not... Delicate issues...
XXX LOVE AND PEACE to all!!!!
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