leaping_lemurs: (No Laffs by the_reverand)
[personal profile] leaping_lemurs
We had an early breakfast and then hit the road, so we’d have time for a brief driving tour of Diego Suarez and lunch before our 2:30 flight back to Tana, where we’re overnighting near the airport, since we have a 6:30 AM (ugh) flight to Fort Dauphin ([livejournal.com profile] queenofthorns, I think of you every time I see or hear the name), gateway to Berenty.

Before we left, I took a few shots of this ultra-friendly puppy who'd been begging to play for the whole time we were there.

He was all over me as I tried to snap his picture.

Vy had a good time playing with him.

On the way back to town, we stopped so a few of the party could “wash their hands,” a local euphemism for “take a pee” – in this case behind some bushes. Across the road, people were harvesting rice, so I took some shots of that, the vista and a zebu cart bringing in more rice.

Later we passed through a town having its designated market day. It was thronged with vendors, shoppers and tourists, and we stopped briefly, too, to take some pictures.

This was some kind of official building, and you can see the town name on the sign.

Several cute schoolgirls in their light blue uniforms (the most common color, though I’ve also seen bright green) were watching me, giggling, and let me take their picture, too.

The girl in pink kept making a face, I'm not sure why.

We reached Diego by about 10:00 and drove around sightseeing. Lots of busy shops and businesses, and a big and very posh-looking casino. The water of the bay was a gorgeous shade of blue, which I hope comes through in my pictures. (You'll notice there was a spot on the filter. Grrr. My glasses were deteriorating at that point - I actually had to send them out to have the anti-glare coating removed and replaced when I got home - so I didn't even see it, since I was kind of staring through a big blur of scratches at that point.)

This is the more industrial section, and whether it's just the light or something more sinister, you'll notice that the water wasn't the same color there.

We also stopped at the post office so I could finally mail the 2 postcards I’ve been carrying around, stamped and ready to go, for a good 4 or 5 days. [livejournal.com profile] fenchurche, your card is on the way at last, though I’m sure I’ll beat it to the States.

We had a fabulous lunch – stuffed crab, followed by zebu steak (I really like zebu), with sweet, juicy fresh mangoes for dessert. Then it was off to the airport to swelter, because of course the plane was late and the airport was beyond packed. A woman with an adorable baby girl, maybe 10 months old, sat down next to Terry, and the baby was fascinated by us. It could be because we’re white, but she couldn’t stop staring, so Terry had a good time playing with her to pass the time.

One thing I’ve noticed here is how happy the babies and kids are. I think I maybe heard one baby cry the entire time we’ve been here. Even on planes, they’re content. Maybe it’s because they’re always on mom’s hip or dad’s shoulders, so they feel totally secure, but it’s really noticeable how smiley and playful they are, even with very little to play with. Yesterday, while we were relaxing over our cold drinks, 2 little girls of maybe 4 or 5 were playing peek-around-the-corner with us, then doing a teasing “toss the scarf” thing to show off. Across the road, it was gym time at the local school, with the boys playing soccer (barefoot!) and the girls doing a dance thing, and not a single cranky word drifted over to us.

We got to Tana around 6:30, and Vy and Etienne (our driver for this quick stopover, but he’s really a guide, and we’d met him several times along the way, in both Perinet and Ampijoroa, because he was escorting a photographer for a couple of weeks) dropped us at Relais des Plateaux, where we’d had our day rooms that first Saturday. It’s amazing how different things look when you’re awake. That first morning we both staggered into the room, took a quick shower, met Vy in the restaurant for breakfast and hit the road. I barely noticed anything. Tonight we realized how nice and comfy (and clean, not exactly a hallmark of the last couple of nights) everything is. We had dinner in the restaurant, which is actually quite posh and looks out on a beautiful pool – and also serves great food, especially the baked camembert to start. Then back to the room for a heavenly shower that wasn’t poured from a water bottle, and now bed, because 4:30 is going to come awfully soon. Room service at 5:00, off to the airport at 5:15. G’night.
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November 2007

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