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Published: March 2nd 2018
Tuesday 27 February – drive from Andasibe Park to Antsirabe
The direction we were heading today was South-West, bypassing Tana. It was a 360 km trip on a variety of standard of roads which were narrow in places and loaded with trucks which we could not pass easily on the single lane roads.
As we were going up the mountain range we came across 2 trucks that had broken down. The only problem was that one truck was going up the hill and the other broken down truck was going down the hill so the road was completely blocked, that was for all other trucks. We drove half on and half off the road to get past the trucks. The ‘half off’ was on the edge of the steep hill!! Once past the blockage, the great advantage was that we came across no other trucks going up the hill, for 45 minutes, because they couldn’t get past the 2 broken down trucks. Great for us!!!!
We drove through some beautiful countryside, much of which was volcanic soil in a very long valley full of small farms growing rice, vegetables, cooler weather
fruit and plenty of zebu cattle. The downside was we could see total deforestation of remnant vegetation. We could see why the statistics was 90% clearing of all original vegetation. No wonder there are so many endemic flora and fauna species of Madagascar which are now extinct.
We had lunch on the way where the owner was very French. In the hospitality industry, we came across so much French influence, mainly through menus and staff were French or Malagasy not English. The owner had a chat to us finding out that we were Australian (and not British!).
The weather was fine and in the high 20s – very pleasant.
We arrived at Antsirabe, a large city in central Madagascar. This was around 4.00pm. As we drove closer and closer to the cities CBD, greater sophistication in buildings could be seen. We saw a large Catholic Cathedral, the Town Hall and then stopped at the bank as well as Shop-Rite.
I bought a large packet of biscuits and gave them to a disabled man and young children outside Shop-Rite. They all absolutely pounced in the biscuits and I wished
I had bought 2 packets. They all looked very hungry. Very sad. There are just under 44% of people in Madagascar who, on average, earn less than $1USD per day.
After settling into our Hotel Royal Palace, which was simply decorated with basic facilities…. With a comfy bed! We decided to go for a walk after being in the car most of the day. We saw a big black cloud on the edge of the city with lightening activity and moving in our direction. We decided to take our raincoats and umbrellas. As soon as we left the building it started to shower. After about 30 minutes it was heavy rain. We found a lovely cafe/bakery which served cold beer so that is where we stayed for the next 45 minutes.
We then walked back to the hotel after the rain had stopped. We were 90% sure of our way back but decided to ride in a cyclo-push which was a bike attached to a covered cart for 2 people. We paid him $4 or 10,000 Ar which was very generous apparently.
We had a very tasty dinner in the hotel
with crunchy vegies (which has been unusual in Madagascar). The wifi was excellent in the reception and the restaurant but not in our room.
Tot: 3.071s; Tpl: 0.052s; cc: 17; qc: 94; dbt: 0.1223s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb