I recently came back from traveling through Madagascar. It is an amazing country with an amazing history. Some tidbits:
- Madagascar is the 4th largest island in the world, and separated from the African continent about 135 million years ago
- Over 40% of the population does not have running water or electricity, and 69% of the population lives below the national poverty level of 1 dollar a day
- Once colonized by the French, there is still a huge French influence there and most of the population speaks both Malagasy and French, c’est super, non?
- They have 103 species of lemurs and are home to over two-thirds of the world’s chameleon species, I mean if you can find them! And 6 of the 8 world baobab species are there too
Citroens are their taxi vehicle of choice! Et voila!
The local markets are a very big deal for the villages, they happen once a week and you can buy just about anything, including rock salt, baby ducklings, kittens, soap, dried fish, French bread, zebu meat with flies, and used dead white men’s clothes. It’s a big social occasion for all the villagers and it’s how most people make their money for the week.
These lemurs were hilarious. We were in the Sacred Forest of Ifotaka along the Mandrare River. The white lemurs are incredibly friendly and hammed it up for us for several minutes. They can also do just about any yoga pose.
This was the local airport outside of Fort Dauphin, we flew in and out of our camps on a 4-seater Cessna plane. My friend Erin was smart and pre-medicated with a Xanax. I did not and chatted nervously with our guide while my palms sweated and took lots of photos to distract myself.
Sundowners with the ladies, outside of Isalo National Park. My travel companions are the best, they’re like my family. The sunsets kept getting better and better.
That’s Priscilla, my dear friend that organizes all these tours we go on with her company Global Sojourns.
The thing that struck me the most about Madagascar was the muddy water that people would bath in, and wash cars and clothes in. Then they’d take that same water home in a large jug carrying it on their heads for miles to their tiny mud and straw huts for drinking and cooking. When we drove back to the airport to come back home, we filled up all the water bottles we had used on trip with our hotel tap water, and handed them out to people on side of the road. It was mostly little kids and they were so grateful and had huge smiles on their faces.
The Malagasy people are beautiful and pride themselves with having a simple stress-free life. “Mora mora” you hear them saying, meaning “slowly slowly.” It’s their way of life. Coming back to NYC was a hard transition after such a great adventure.
Oh and have I told you how much I love my mom?
Sundowners at Manafiafy.