Just spent the last 3 days and nights at sea, on passage between Reunion and Madagascar. It was a little bittersweet leaving the beautiful country of Reunion with her French “everything” and her majestic mountains, lava flows and waterfalls. She was a lovely place to visit, but oh dear, Madagascar, a whole different beast completely!
The passage itself was quite nice, although it has been 2.5 months since I arrived in Reunion so it took a couple days for me to get my sea legs back. Every time I tried to work on my computer in the v-berth, I got seasick. I think it’s similar to how some people feel when they read in the back seat of a car. I’ve never been seasick before so it was a new experience for me and it made me concerned, but after a couple of days, the symptoms lessened. At least now I understand a little bit about how people feel when they get seasick.
What is Madagascar like? For me, I can only relate it to my own experience. For those of you who don’t know, I spent 2 years in Haiti, when I was 19, on a mission for the mormon church, or whatever they’re calling themselves these days. But I’ve always said that the best thing I got from the mormon church was Haiti. Spending 2 years as a 19-year old in a 3rd-world country, dramatically changed my life for the better and pushed me further in the world view I currently have. On our first visit to Madagascar, on the Ile Saint Marie, it reminds me a lot of Haiti. Partly because of the people and their loving nature and partly because of the 3rd-world feel that is here. The town we are in is called Ambodifotatra.
Between the immigration process, which was confusing and troublesome and a bit of authoritative self righteousness (give anybody a government job and it tends to go to their head) to the hundreds of small shops selling their wares all along the street, it brought me back to my many trips to Haiti.
They speak French and Malagasy, an Austronesian language (combination of Polynesian and Malaysian, apparently) and quite hard for me to follow. Here’s the wikipedia on the subject. Quite fascinating to me when you think it has more in common with Borneo than it does to its neighboring African lanaguages. And Ambodifotatra sounds very polynesian to me. Luckily for me, everybody speaks French, quite fluently, and I am enjoying communicating with them in that language. I have always said that I speak broken-French, thanks to my Haitian Creole roots, but find that the less English one speaks, the better my French gets. If a Francophone speaks English decently, they will switch to English for me because they recognize how bad my French is, but if one doesn’t speak any English, my French is king!
Looking forward to getting to know this country over the next month. I purchased 50 gigs of data with Telma Mobile so I can work on a couple of projects while I’m here and of course so I can write a blog or two. All of a sudden I’m starting to get projects again which is great!
Here are some pics from the passage as well as some shots from where we are, currently. I hope you enjoy them. As always, don’t forget to follow the adventure by subscribing, or you can follow on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Path!