Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vacation, Park 2: Isalo National Park - When I Meet King Julian

The day after we left Andringitra, we started making our way back to Ambalavao to pick up our luggage. We set out on the treacherous road from Liz's village, once again anticipating having to carry all of our stuff 9 miles (though this time at least we didn't have all the food). About halfway, a large truck passed that happened to be going the same way, and we were able to hitch a ride along with some villagers in the back of the truck. It was a MUCH appreciated ride that lifted our spirits a bit and saved a lot of energy. We had to wait for a while in Vohitsoaka, but we eventually caught a taxi-brousse and made it back to Ambalavao around lunchtime. We ate, picked up a gift (some bananas) for our hosts (the silk weavers who kept our luggage and would let us stay with them that night). They, as is typical of the Malagasy, were extremely hospitable. They brought us boiled peanuts and chatted with us for a while, but also gave us time to get cleaned up and rest a bit. They refused to let us help with any cooking or cleaning, and shared a delicious dinner of creamed corn, rice, chicken, and sausage, and a breakfast of bread with honey and tea. After breakfast, we set out for the next part of our journey.
We were headed for Isalo National Park, near the village of Rahohira. It took a good chunk of the day to get there since we once again had to change taxi-brousses, but they weren't too crowded and the road was good. We got settled into our hotel, made arrangements for the following day with a guide, got dinner, and went to bed by about 7:30. We were exhausted and had yet another full day of hiking ahead of us. (Other than cameras, water, and a sack lunch, we didn't have to carry much with us.) We spent about 8 hours hiking through the park, climbing up to a couple different view points, swimming in a few natural pools, and taking in the surroundings. We saw a bunch of different animals--scorpions, birds, lizards, caterpillars--and all kinds of wildlife. We also met lots of other really cool travelers--a pair of brothers from France, and a few couples from the states doing various work for the State Department across Africa. I'm in a bit of a hurry and I still can't figure out this new formatting, so I apologize for my laziness and not trying to organize the pictures in any fancy way.
cool caterpillar
an example of the plants that grow in the deciduous forest of Western Madagascar
Tisa & me swimming in a natural pool The highlight of the day for me was definitely our lunch break. We stopped at a campsite to eat our bananas, peanuts, bread, and fake laughing cow cheese. We saw a bunch of lemurs running around grabbing all the other guests' food, so we removed ourselves a bit and picked a spot by a stream. However, we had our backs turned to the trees and before we knew it, a gang of crafty lemurs snuck up behind us and tried to run off with our lunch. They didn't manage to get our bread (which they tried to grab right out of Tisa's hand) or cheese, but they did get some banana peels. They're pretty funny animals. I also was able to see the ring-tailed lemur for the first time. While there are many lemur species, I think this is the one people most often think of when they envision lemurs in Madagascar. Perhaps this is because of the animated film, featuring the wily and ridiculous "King Julian"--but at any rate, I can now check them off my list of things seen on this island.
That night we settled back into our hotel and got up the next morning to continue on to Ifaty/Mangily, some beaches north of Tulear (on the southwestern coast of Madagascar). I'll continue that in yet another post since this is also long. Hope you enjoyed the photos! Love love.

1 comment:

  1. Love the lemurs! I'll have show Sean the video lol!


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