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Old 01-28-2014, 01:34 AM   #226
Tiffany OP
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Talking Others who have been...

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Originally Posted by EvilClown View Post
Thank you.

I won't clutter up your ride report with it all. Check your PMs.
Mike I think you SHOULD post them up as they are great pictures and those following thi would enjoy seeing them.

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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
I have huge respect for the cyclists who tackle Madagascar
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:46 PM   #227
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Thumb Diamonds are a ...

The lizard showed me the way


Not that kind of lizard, more the sort that lounges on street corners looking disreputable. I'd arrived in the gemstone-laden ares in the south west of Madagascar, the scene of countless documentaries and journalists' articles. I was riding along RN7, a major road, though the words major road should be taken with a pinch of salt over here, there was tarmac and that was about all that can be said for it.
But instead of the bare countryside stretching away on both sides that I had become used to, there were long rows of gem shops, some of them gaudily lit up.
The area has a dodgy feel about it- lots of get-rich quick schemes and even the lowliest person can find a fortune in the earth.
After asking around- and having to approach some dubious blokes, I found a guy who leads tours through the sapphire fields, he invited me to tag along with his Italian group- who all nodded approvingly at my black leather trousers- not seeming to find it odd that someone would be wearing them in the Tropics.
Feeling like stray recruits in the foreign legion, we were led to the mines



The lines of men, shovelling the sand and dust by hand were a sobering sight







I attempted sorting through the trays of loose stones and gravel in search of a sparkling blue gem.


Afterwards I was shown a tray of polished sapphires




These stones earn a fortune for the gem shop owners but hide the reality of the poverty-stricken miners' families who struggle to live on the 5,000 Ariary wages they get for working. Less than $2 a day.
I passed one of the villages on my way out


Sad scenes where little grows.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:17 PM   #228
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Thumb Hill Country

After leaving the mines the landscape turned from sandy plains to rocks and hills



I wanted to get closer to them - show me a mountain or even a hill and I'm pulling on my walking boots ready to explore


With only the birds for company I headed off


(A Bee eater for any ornithologists amongst you)

I reached the hills


and found a hidden waterfall

- an oasis to swim in
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:53 PM   #229
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Tiffany,
Interesting comments on the mines and poverty. A sad thing for sure. Bet you couldn't believe the cool clean refreshing water for a dip after all you have been thru. Still enjoying this great report.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:20 AM   #230
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Cool2 Looking Back...

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Tiffany,
Interesting comments on the mines and poverty. A sad thing for sure. Bet you couldn't believe the cool clean refreshing water for a dip after all you have been thru. Still enjoying this great report.
Bob
Thanks for that Bob, I always find it one of the hardest issues to cope with when travelling - the huge disparity between my "wealth" and the poverty of so many of the people I encounter. The mineworkers are a particularly sad sight, and a difficult memory to live with, though having said that, there are many more people who are living in worse conditions in Madagascar.

As for the refreshing dip - yep, that was very welcome, I look back at some of the pictures where I was trying to soak my trousers in stagnant pools, not much more than puddles in an attempt to keep cool in the hot temperatures I had to ride in.
Incidentally that picture is the closest scene to a bikini shot that people will find on my RR
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:01 PM   #231
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Amazing that there aren't lots of people there...

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Old 01-31-2014, 12:35 AM   #232
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Amazing that there aren't lots of people there...

No one was around- luxury, I felt very lucky, apparently it can be a popular swim spot.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:32 AM   #233
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Once again I've enjoyed following along on your adventure. It seems Madagascar is much different and diverse than I thought, although I have no idea what my thoughts were based on.

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Incidentally that picture is the closest scene to a bikini shot that people will find on my RR
That's too bad, you've covered motorcycle travel fashion from so many angles. But prolly for the best. It's a shame how things can go side ways when the leg humpers crawl out from under their rocks at the posting of an innocent bikini pic.


Tiffany, are you going to be able to post a report while on your next "working" trip where ever that is going to be?
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Old 02-01-2014, 12:06 AM   #234
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Expectations

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Once again I've enjoyed following along on your adventure. It seems Madagascar is much different and diverse than I thought, although I have no idea what my thoughts were based on.



That's too bad, you've covered motorcycle travel fashion from so many angles. But prolly for the best. It's a shame how things can go side ways when the leg humpers crawl out from under their rocks at the posting of an innocent bikini pic.


Tiffany, are you going to be able to post a report while on your next "working" trip where ever that is going to be?
Treadless- that is probably my own most used comment upon returning - that it was more diverse and harder than I expected- though when I look back I realise I didn't really know what I expected - it's not a hugely popular country to visit (yet!) so there aren't endless commentaries and pictures about it to pore over and get an idea.
In fact I've been told that I am the first overseas traveller to undertake such a comprehensive exploration by motorcycle - which is partly why I am going into a fair amount of detail on this RR.

As for my next working trip - it all depends, I've got a couple lined up for this year, so we shall see.
I don't want to overdo things and have people think- "Oh god it's that bloody woman again, bleating on"
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:31 AM   #235
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Talking Village Life

I found a place to stay

It has the most incredible setting



I went out for a ride through the village and arrived at the local football match - every Sunday wherever you are in Madagascar there will be a game of football going on...


A free kick looks something like this



I loved the pace of life and the friendliness in the village



This boy definitely got the Cute Picture of the Week Award
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:22 AM   #236
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As for my next working trip - it all depends, I've got a couple lined up for this year, so we shall see.
I don't want to overdo things and have people think- "Oh god it's that bloody woman again, bleating on"


F'm. Saying something like that could only be done through a filter of jealousy/envy.

Looking forward to reading about it/them.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:31 PM   #237
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Cool2 Wildlife with Coates

Madagascan ladybirds...apparently



The kids had been showing me around - I told them that in England the ladybirds have spots not stripes.
I went exploring again



and despite setting off pretty early, by 7.00am it was getting hot.


Praying mantis - a female about to devour an ant, with a blood-thirsty look in her eye.


They're quite interesting insects, with the females being notorious for sexual cannibalism - biting off the heads of the unlucky males during mating.

Once more things were pretty quiet just me, the wildlife and John, a local guy acting as a guide for me


Up in the hills, the dry climate means that there's little greenery




And then we went back down to the coolness of the trees in the valley, where a strange looking bird was watching me and following through the woods





One of the most amazing dragonflies I have seen anywhere - a reddish pink one



At midday, it was sweltering and I was pleased to find we'd reached a shaded pool where I jumped in under the waterfall

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Old 02-04-2014, 02:56 AM   #238
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Cool2 Moving On

The neighbours are drying their corn


while I have a gorgeous view of this beautiful tree from my front door



It's time to move on, the north and west are calling out to me and the wet season is approaching fast (or maybe it has already arrived there and I'm just being a bit head in the sand about it), I find it hard to tear myself away from these beautiful hills

the kids watch me leaving



They've managed to introduce me these delicacies
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:13 AM   #239
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Cool2 Animal Antics

I have a day and a half of riding on RN 7, although it's a major route by Madagascan standards, it's still not great tarmac and life around me continues how it has been for a very long time


I stop for a break and get the funny feeling that I'm being watched





they come out from the bushes


I finally get to see some ring-tailed lemurs, probably the most famous of all the lemurs but somehow I hadn't managed to see any until now
They scampered around me on some rocks






I was keen to follow them, but it got quite steep and I had bike gear on, then I saw this bloke...in his bare feet!

even the lizards were encouraging me


I made it to the top
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:34 AM   #240
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Thumb Animal Antics 2

My surroundings have been getting greener - this was the view from the top of the rocks


I watched the bloke descend, looking relaxed as he went, this is when the reminder of going down is harder than going up is forcefully brought to life though he again made it look easy


Down amongst the trees again, I spot these pink fluttery things



not butterflies (or at least I don't think they are)


little chameleons hiding amongst the dead leaves


he's a sweet-looking thing
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