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Old 09-30-2013, 04:38 AM   #31
Tiffany OP
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Originally Posted by Dr LC8 View Post
Hi,

Lara and I went down south reaching Morondava first and Toliara after. We were a girl and a boy on two bikes. We never ever had the impression to be in an unsafe place or to be in danger. In one occasion we also ride for over two hours in the dark between Antsirabe and Ambositra to reach the the destination.

Obviously it is a very very rural conuntry with no facilities outside big or busy towns. There is no electricity outside big towns and people tend to drink a lot. It is very easy to find drunk man hanging around at night.
I guess you only need to plan ahead the night before which will be your next destination knowing that there won't be any intermidiate stop. Make sure you can make it and don't forget that there are stretch of 300km without petrol stations.

Madagascar is a beautiful country.

Don't miss the fishing village on the coast around Morondava. Isalo Park it is unbeliaveble beautiful. It looks like a T-Rex will suddently appear from behind the mountain. On the opposite just a day riding away Ranomafana Park is a tropical jungle! Fantastic.

Enjoy!

Nic
Thanks for the recommendations and the lovely pics Nic. looks like you and Lara had a fantastic time. I;ve met another honeymoon couple, seems there are a few people who have that idea.
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:43 AM   #32
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Hi Thom
Yep, I'm over here currently, posting (or at least attempting to post as I go along) here until mid-December.
At this precise moment sat in a Bar- Idylle Beach on Ile Ste Marie
I'll be in Tana at the weekend, as my sister, the Loud Librarian is flying in and we'll then be on the bike together for three weeks

Are you around this weekend?

Your pictures are great and I'm impressed you've ridden that west coast, I'd like to give that a try.
cheers
Tiffany
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:45 AM   #33
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Cool2 Headed East

From the bustle of Tana the capital I headed East through the rolling green hills



to the coast and the beautiful Indian Ocean, my first morning, I woke up to this sunrise view through my bedroom window (a simple thatched hut by the beach)



I'm in the small town (three dirt roads) of Soaneira Ivango


where there are cute kids on every corner





I wandered around as the sun set


There's great street food, this is Madame Suzanne and she has established her little foodie empire under the only street light in town,


serving food to people wandering past and seating them on small wooden stools.


Assisted by her multitude of offspring.

The local butcher shop is not for the fainthearted



and yep, like a lot of teenage shop assistants the world over, he's checking out his mobile phone behind the merchandise.



I headed north up the infamous Route National 5

Not what most of us would recognise as a major national road, but hey, this is Madagascar

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Old 09-30-2013, 05:07 AM   #34
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Hi Tiffany,

I'll be around this weekend. I sent you a PM with contact details.

Safe Travels,

Thom
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:10 AM   #35
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Question Infrastructure - What Infrastructure?

Life is simple in Madagascar, if there's water to be crossed, there will be a floating vessel of some type (I hesitate to use the word boat)

My favourites are the small dug-out canoes or pirogues as they're called over here. It seems to be every boatman's boast that he will not turn anyone away, leading to some very heavily laden pirogues.



I was broken in gently, my first one actually had an engine (of sorts)



the next one was two guys paddling



You just ride up to the edge of the water, and the rest is done for you





These kids were practising with baby baths (no doubt donated by a well-meaning NGO)



Getting Suzi in and out was at times a bit trickier than they expected as she's bigger than the average bike around here




The bigger vehicles don't fare much better



as they load more and more on


Until it's so full they can't take anymore, and off they putter across the river mouth with the waves from the sea breaking over their feet!!



I prefer to take my chances with something like this


The track I was following ran alongside the beach, where I was watching out for super soft patches of sand and also the ropes from the fishing nets



Then back in under the trees


To add some interest there's also some mud, sometimes a LOT of it



I'm sort of learning about this bike as I go



This is the shy fisherman who gave me a hand

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Old 09-30-2013, 05:17 AM   #36
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Cool2 messages

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Originally Posted by Thom_worldwide View Post
Hi Tiffany,

I'll be around this weekend. I sent you a PM with contact details.

Safe Travels,

Thom
cheers for that Thom
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:58 AM   #37
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Wow nice pics!

I imagine riding the 350 is a bit of a change from the big GS of your last couple reports. Staying until December, that sounds great, no need to feel rushed.

Cheers!
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:27 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by lukeman View Post
Wow nice pics!

I imagine riding the 350 is a bit of a change from the big GS of your last couple reports. Staying until December, that sounds great, no need to feel rushed.

Cheers!
Thanks Luke
and yes, the Suzuki is quite a change from my old 800cc GS and from the 1200Gs that I ride as a tour guide

Getting to grips with it gradually, but definitely enjoying it.
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:51 AM   #39
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This looks really exciting! Definitely following along.
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:38 AM   #40
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You are a great writer..ou make the hardships look enjoyable .
Loving every post
Paddy
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:19 AM   #41
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Is it fun?!

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You are a great writer..ou make the hardships look enjoyable .
Loving every post
Paddy
Paddy, at times there is definitely not much that is enjoyable
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:21 AM   #42
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I wrestled with the sand for many miles and sometimes the sand won


As I was feeling so hacked off I'm sorry but I have to confess I did NOT take a picture which is unheard of for me.
I was mostly preoccupied with working out how to pick up Suzi, it's weird, but I can pick up Thelma fully-loaded without too much of an issue, but this bike which is maybe half the weight, a completely different story. However as I'm in the middle of some bleak and deserted coastline track in Madagascar and there's no-one to help, I had to knuckle down. There was no way I could do it using my usual method and then...
I remembered a YouTube clip someone once shared about picking up the bike with your back towards it. I racked my memory for all the details, turn the wheel down, grab the hand grip and something at the back, put my back into it and hey presto, Suzi was once more upright.
Relief flooded through me, YES I CAN pick up this pipsqueak bike!

I continued a bit more cautiously




Ahead of me, were these guys...




The pillion passenger ran for two miles through the softer section of sand before the rider let him back on for a half mile or so. Hmm, good idea I'm thinking, as my sister is about to join me, I hope she's feeling fit and strong!! By the way the rider is wearing flipflops!

The bike is beginning to look worn in, with dust and mud everywhere



I had a night camped out on the coast, falling asleep with the sound of the waves crashing on the beach.
and taking more pictures of priogues!


The scene in my tent (it's a small one!), not exactly the life of luxury as I eat my Happy Cow cheese spread and upload photos onto the netbook




A section of track that reminds me of Australia, parts of Brazil and also the red earth tracks on Prince Edward Island in Canada.



It was a joy to ride the red earth, but soon back to this stuff




And then the final stretch of sand for this section of the trip


Dinner was being cooked in the back yard - it's too hot to cook indoors, I like the way that the fish is too big for the pan but it's stuffed in anyway!



It's time to head to a place where life is a bit easier and relaxed.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:48 AM   #43
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Tiffany, have you heard about the two "tourists", who came to Madagascar to steal organs from little kids and were killed by an angry mob, they burned them alive..... One of them was a Frenchman, so I heard on the news. So take care as there might be some unfriendly disturbance among the locals towards tourists/strangers.
Otherwise, great RR so far.
Grtz., Hans.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:53 AM   #44
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Eek Shhhh

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Originally Posted by dallastx View Post
Tiffany, have you heard about the two "tourists", who came to Madagascar to steal organs from little kids and were killed by an angry mob, they burned them alive..... One of them was a Frenchman, so I heard on the news. So take care as there might be some unfriendly disturbance among the locals towards tourists/strangers.
Otherwise, great RR so far.
Grtz., Hans.
Yes, Hans I did hear about it, but don't tell my Mum!!

actually I've heard a couple of versions about it- no-one has said which is the correct version.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:54 AM   #45
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Laugh Off-Shore

I'd heard about a tropical desert island off the eastern coast and after wrestling with the sand, decided I had to find it.
fist step was tracking down this guy

His name is Werlhof, he's the official ticket seller for the Melissa Express boat and he is the Fonz reincarnated. He speaks good English (a rarity over here) and even with a Malagasy accent, he still manages to sound like the Fonz. I bought my ticket from him and then settled down to wait as I know there's no way on earth that the boat will depart on time (it was only 1.5 hours late leaving)
Life by the river, as I wait for the boat to leave

Girls fishing

This guy with the roaster in the water (it's definitely alive, and not very happy)

I asked someone what he was doing, and he explained it's a "sport chicken", the mind boggles, I don't remember seeing hens doing the 100m breaststroke. However, gradually I worked out that actually he means the so-called "sport" of cock fighting. This one is a particular favourite and it's getting the gold star treatment of a plunge in the murky looking river.
Suzi safely strapped down on board

Meanwhile below decks, in the seating area, everyone was donning their lifejackets- a worrying move I thought

A journey that I was assured would be 45 minutes but was almost two hours! I arrive at Ile Sainte Marie

Apologies, bit of a video nasty, but IT'S ONLY MY SOCKS

The first time I'd had access to running water since the mud incident (and I'd only worn the socks for one day I hasten to add)
Looking in the other direction was this peaceful scene, from my hotel window, the women doing some early morning fishing


I'm heading somewhere more relaxing
A pirogue with my bike gear, and off we go to this tiny island
where the hardest part of the day is deciding which beach is the most picturesque
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