Mapless in Madagascar

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Tiffany, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. rockydog

    rockydog just a guy

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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
  2. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Wow - what a great picture! I love it, can you tell me more about it? Who, where, when and...why??:clap
  3. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    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.
  4. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Thank you.

    I won't clutter up your ride report with it all. Check your PMs.:D
  5. mtbbker

    mtbbker MtbBiker

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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 :thumb:thumb
  6. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Mike I think you SHOULD post them up as they are great pictures and those following thi would enjoy seeing them.

    I have huge respect for the cyclists who tackle Madagascar:bow:bow:bow
  7. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    The lizard showed me the way

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    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

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

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    I attempted sorting through the trays of loose stones and gravel in search of a sparkling blue gem.
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    Afterwards I was shown a tray of polished sapphires
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    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
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    Sad scenes where little grows.
  8. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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

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    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
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    With only the birds for company I headed off
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    (A Bee eater for any ornithologists amongst you)

    I reached the hills
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    and found a hidden waterfall
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    - an oasis to swim in
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  9. Motorrev

    Motorrev Semi-Adventurer

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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
  10. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    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 :D
  11. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer

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    Amazing that there aren't lots of people there...

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  12. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    No one was around- luxury, I felt very lucky, apparently it can be a popular swim spot.
  13. Treadless

    Treadless Long timer

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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. :lol3

    That's too bad, you've covered motorcycle travel fashion from so many angles. :lol3 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?
  14. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    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. :D
    I don't want to overdo things and have people think- "Oh god it's that bloody woman again, bleating on"
  15. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    I found a place to stay
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    It has the most incredible setting

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    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...
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    A free kick looks something like this

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

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    This boy definitely got the Cute Picture of the Week Award :D
  16. Treadless

    Treadless Long timer

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

    Looking forward to reading about it/them. :lurk
  17. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Madagascan ladybirds...apparently

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

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    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.
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    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

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

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

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    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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  18. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    The neighbours are drying their corn
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    while I have a gorgeous view of this beautiful tree from my front door

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    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
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    the kids watch me leaving

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    They've managed to introduce me these delicacies
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  19. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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

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    they come out from the bushes
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    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
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    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!
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    even the lizards were encouraging me
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    I made it to the top
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  20. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    My surroundings have been getting greener - this was the view from the top of the rocks
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    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
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    Down amongst the trees again, I spot these pink fluttery things

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    not butterflies (or at least I don't think they are)
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    little chameleons hiding amongst the dead leaves
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    he's a sweet-looking thing
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