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Old 01-22-2014, 01:42 PM   #211
Tiffany OP
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Westward Bound

The road out of the village was fairly crowded with zebu and carts , all heading west



The villages once again consist of simple huts






I stop for a much needed break and refreshments, sharing the sole bench seat with this guy



It all looks quiet, but what you can't see from this picture is what stands in front of me, once more my every move is being watched and villagers have come flocking over to see the bizarre spectacle of a vazaha (foreigner) drinking tea. They packed in under the shelter for front row views!



The young woman in blue was particularly interested and could speak good french and so I offered her a go with my camera with this result...

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Old 01-22-2014, 02:16 PM   #212
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Cool2 Leaving the Badlands

Fuel stops had been scarce, so I was pleased when I found out that this guy sells petrol



His wife was sporting the best Princess Leia hair-do I had seen so far this trip


Her kitchen was quite a sight as well



I had a sort of stir-fry dish, unidentifiable veggies and noodles, with a dubious cold drink, and then, Suzi didn't want to start. I tried and tried, but she wasn't keen. I headed back into the shade to have a cold drink- except it was hottest coke I've ever had the misfortune to taste! The whole village was muttering about the sad state of affairs- the moto is broken "what is the vazaha going to do?"

A bus pulled into the village with the usual heaving mass of humanity inside it and on the roof, the usual mountain of luggage, along with something that caught my eye



I took a photo with the thought that if Suzi really will not start, I'll just have to tie her onto a bus like this- and I'll use the photo to show the guys how to do it.
I'm not sure if it was the threat of such a humiliating scene for Suzi, but she immediately leapt into life at the next press of the button.

I was pretty excited at this point as I realised I was getting to the end of the sand, and if things didn't get too tricky I might even make it to Tulear- the major town on the south west coast. the thought of a cold beer spurred me through the dust and sand.
I paused only briefly to get a photo here


Yep, the Tropic of Capricorn, I'd been parallel with it for a while and now here I was crossing it- as a Capricorn I always get a thrill when I see these signs. I had crossed the Tropic on the east coast somewhere, but either the mud or the rain had obscured any sign - if there was even one there which I doubt as it's such a remote road. The road started to improve and to my surprise at the next river, there was that rarest of sights... a bridge


Soon after that I reached the tarmac, I almost wept with relief- no more sand for a while and I was clear of the Badlands. I pressed on- virtually able to smell the beer...
making it to the coast and a beachside table where I watched the sun set over the Mozambique Channel



There's an almost indescribable feeling and mixture of emotions when reaching safety and civilisation after days of struggling through the intense heat and the sand. I felt as if this hard stretch had started weeks ago when I left the last bit of tarmac on the east coast, heading south. From here on I'd be riding north for a while.
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:37 PM   #213
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Cool2 Coastal Capers

My relief at reaching the coast and knowing there was no more sand for several hundred miles was immense and so I had a mini-holiday to celebrate and for some much needed rest, I could tell I'd lost weight as well over the past few weeks.
Down to the beach I headed


And a ride in a zebu cart with a difference


Yep, straight out to sea
Incredibly they use the carts to transport goods and people to and from the speedboats.


sometimes going quite deep


I stayed down the coast in a beachside hut

once more there were very few tourists around. I walked, snorkelled and swam a lot.
My favourite eating place was the Auberge Tintin, with a surreal fence made to look like crayons, where I would sit and drink cold beers until the mud wrestling became a distant memory

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Old 01-22-2014, 04:35 PM   #214
Brent T
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Excellent report!

I always enjoy reading your reports - great photos and exotic locales...!
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Old 01-26-2014, 01:55 AM   #215
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Talking Bike Travel

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I always enjoy reading your reports - great photos and exotic locales...!
Thank you Brent - though what is one man's (or woman's) exotic locale is another person's back yard



some local riding in Cornwall.

And now on with the Madagascar RR...
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:27 AM   #216
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This is an amazing and most interesting ride report and you are a most amazing traveler, writer and photographer. Oh yeah, I should have added 'rider' to that. So there.
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Old 01-26-2014, 03:51 PM   #217
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Cool2 Cheers

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Originally Posted by dickosaurus View Post
This is an amazing and most interesting ride report and you are a most amazing traveler, writer and photographer. Oh yeah, I should have added 'rider' to that. So there.

Thank you for the kind comments- much appreciated, I can assure you
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:03 PM   #218
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Cool2 Coastal Capers 2

Life is pretty simple in the villages along the coast, fishing and making boats seem to be the main occupations



Boats are used for transporting most things as the roads along the coast are extremely poor or non-existent. This was an entertaining bit of sea cargo, some sheep and goats being off-loaded


And then having to be dragged one by one to the shore


The women have a yellow mud pack type mask that they apply to their faces to protect their skin from the sun and the elements, for once I was a bit too chicken to try it



At first they look more like zombie faces.

It was time for me to get back on the bike,
first the zebu cart to get out to sea


then the speed boat to head back to Tulear


my R&R were over and I was starting to get concerned about the wet season starting in the north - everyone was shaking their heads when I said that I had left the north until the end...it can't be worse than the east...can it
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:11 PM   #219
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Wink Savannah Musings

Heading north and I was in for a surprise, the mud, sand and featureless dust had given way to African savannah


It felt and looked like Tanzania, I half expected zebra and giraffe to appear, but they don't live in Madagascar.



The wildlife around here was mainly of the feathered variety



I think the hawk was hanging around because someone had killed its mate


and no, it wasn't me.

I was about to have some company - other foreigners who didn't seem to think it was odd to be wearing black leather trousers in the tropical heat



A bunch of Italians - a nationality that is known for its chicness and style.
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Old 01-26-2014, 06:37 PM   #220
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Originally Posted by Tiffany View Post
...I paused only briefly to get a photo here


Yep, the Tropic of Capricorn...
Wonder if we've been down the same road...



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Old 01-26-2014, 08:10 PM   #221
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Tiffany, just as I'm looking at your pic of the woman's 'kitchen' the ice maker in my fridge goes clickity-clack and drops another tray of ice cubes for my next glass of Scotch. And I start laughing at the casual comforts we take for granted and how you have influenced so many people on your travels with what they can do with what they've got, especially the young women who look at you on this trip riding your little bike just boppin around. And I hope they go, well, if she can do it so can I....

Thank's for sharing, S
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:42 AM   #222
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Thumb A Picture Speaks...

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Originally Posted by EvilClown View Post
Wonder if we've been down the same road...



Wow - what a great picture! I love it, can you tell me more about it? Who, where, when and...why??
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:46 AM   #223
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Thumb Home Comforts

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Originally Posted by rockydog View Post
Tiffany, just as I'm looking at your pic of the woman's 'kitchen' the ice maker in my fridge goes clickity-clack and drops another tray of ice cubes for my next glass of Scotch. And I start laughing at the casual comforts we take for granted and how you have influenced so many people on your travels with what they can do with what they've got, especially the young women who look at you on this trip riding your little bike just boppin around. And I hope they go, well, if she can do it so can I....

Thank's for sharing, S

Thanks for the reminder of the contrast between kitchens- I thought this one looked like a witch's hovel from the Middle Ages, the food was delicious.
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Old 01-27-2014, 02:49 PM   #224
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Wow - what a great picture! I love it, can you tell me more about it? Who, where, when and...why??
Thank you.

I won't clutter up your ride report with it all. Check your PMs.
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:53 AM   #225
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Quote:
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I'm heading down to Fort Dauphin in these pictures, this latest stretch was Nosy Varika to Mananjary. All I knew about the road is that the last 250kms are the worst!! After experiencing this I was beginning to get worried. And yes, I'm still travelling out here Nosy Be as I type this!!
Just caught up on your trip, brings back so many memories of the people, the mud, beautiful beaches of the east. I was fortunate enough to cycle through Madagascar - Nosy Varika, Nosy be, Canal de Pangalese....
Thanks for taking me back

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