21 February 2012

Sometimes weather happens

A cyclone was blowing out in the Mozambique channel, off the eastern coast of Madagasgar and we had to make a decision.  From the town of Tulear we were to take a boat south to a little beach village called Anakao for a two-night stay. Getting there might be possible, assuming the port authority gave the local fleet the all clear, but if the stormy weather continued, we might get stuck in Anakao. That could make it very difficult to get back to Tana for our onward flight to Bangkok, Thailand.

We opted to return to Tana by road with Dorique and our driver, Joey, doing in two days what we had earlier done in four. Continuing our Malagasy road trip sounded like more fun than waiting two days in blowy, humid Tulear to catch the regional flight originally booked for us.

Would we miss out on our beach experience?  Well no, not quite. We made a jaunt south to Sarodrano, crossing the Tropic of Capricorn on the way. We drove past mangrove trees and strange euphorbia with poisonous sap (second photo below).

We passed baby baobab trees.  

Best of all, we were able to see spiny compass trees. Their fleshy cactus-like branches bend with the prevailing wind, giving a directional clue to passing travelers.

Dug out canoes rested on the beach and a few fishermen's huts clung to the sand behind a twig fence. Surely these structures would be scant protection against a cyclone's winds. 

For us, it was time to head inland.  Past the giant baobab trees of the southwest.  

It did take us two tiring days, but our mode of travel was extremely comfortable compared to so many of the vehicles we passed on the road.  I photographed this bus at the gas station where we filled up.  Just a couple kilometers down the road, it was stopped and an ominous pool of oil had appear under it.

Overloaded taxi buses like the one below were a common site on all the roads.

We pulled into Tana as a spectacular moody sunset reached over the rice fields on the city's outskirts.  It kind of felt like arriving home.



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