Sunday, January 22, 2012

Final Moments in Madagascar

The next morning was our last in Madagascar, and we began it beautifully, lingering briefly in the ambiance of La Varangue...

... admiring the daylight view from the balcony outside our room (that's a litchi tree)...

... then sharing breakfast in the hotel's perfectly appointed dining room...

.... before heading out to explore a touch more of Tana on our way to the airport. Antananarivo has two distinct levels, giving us the opportunity for some great glimpses and views of the city as we were driven about:

Antananarivo is definitely one of the place sin Madagascar where I wish we had been able to spend more time. While much of the country is hot, Tana's location at a higher elevation leaves it relatively mild year round, or so I understand; and it just seems like a really interesting and vibrant place.

Certainly, my incredible and inspiring wife and I look good posing in front of it:

During our tour, we drove past the Presidential Palace - though it is not currently occupied by a President. From what I understand, Madagascar's political situation is not that stable. In fact, the owner of the Anjiamarango resort where we stayed on Nosy Be had told us how that instability had at one point cost her almost an entire year's worth of business, as not too long ago she had only gotten three guests during a year when no one was traveling to Madagascar due to changes and uncertainties in and around its governance.

This is the Queen's Palace, also unoccupied:

We continued to explore this fascinating capital city, learning about its history as we went.

Returning to the upper city, we again enjoyed the views of Tana afforded us:

This is Lac Anosy (it is shaped like a heart), constructed for the Queen, I believe, back when there was a Queen to enjoy it:

All too soon, we needed to turn toward the airport, but Kathy took these great shots of laundry day by climbing an embankment alongside the main route out of town. They serve me as a great reminder to never take indoor running water for granted...

We caught a few last looks at the rice paddies:

And the bush taxis, which really do get so full that they need to have that back door open (there is actually a strap there for whoever gets that spot to grab and hold):

And I had been wanting to get a decent shot of how full they get on top, as they are carrying not only everyone's bags, but also often goods for delivery to local shops along their routes:

Alas, we were soon at the airport and leaving Madagascar. All I can say in closing this chapter in our adventures is that it was one of my all-time favorites, for there is nothing quite like exploring a magnificent paradise with the love of my life. If Madagascar is not on your list, it ought to be...

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