Mapless in Madagascar

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

  1. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Paddy, at times there is definitely not much that is enjoyable:huh
    #41
  2. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Location:
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    I wrestled with the sand for many miles[​IMG] and sometimes the sand won [​IMG]


    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[​IMG], 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

    [​IMG]


    Ahead of me, were these guys...

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    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

    [​IMG]

    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!
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    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


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

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

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

    [​IMG]

    It's time to head to a place where life is a bit easier and relaxed.
    #42
  3. dallastx

    dallastx Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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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.
    #43
  4. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    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.
    #44
  5. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    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
    [​IMG]
    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
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    Girls fishing
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    This guy with the roaster in the water (it's definitely alive, and not very happy)
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    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
    [​IMG]
    Meanwhile below decks, in the seating area, everyone was donning their lifejackets- a worrying move I thought
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    A journey that I was assured would be 45 minutes but was almost two hours! I arrive at Ile Sainte Marie
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    Apologies, bit of a video nasty, but IT'S ONLY MY SOCKS
    [​IMG]
    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
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I'm heading somewhere more relaxing
    A pirogue with my bike gear, and off we go to this tiny island
    [​IMG] where the hardest part of the day is deciding which beach is the most picturesque [​IMG]
    #45
  6. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Fantastic report so far Tiffany!!! :clap :clap:clap

    Kudo's to you for going it alone.

    I wouldn't worry bout the comments re-dangerous and wotnot. I have been told all places (except america apparently) are dangerous, and anyway, you're not in the organ business are you? :D

    Considering your other travel experiences I reckon you have more than enough street cred to recognize a reprobate from a truly dodgy bloke! :lol3

    Cant believe that rice tea is anything like Rooibos!

    Well done for overcoming the sand. Its always the hardest/toughest/worst stretches of any ride that brings the fondest memories afterwards. Its also what makes trips epic!

    Keep the posts coming and keep those wheels rolling! :thumb

    Neil
    #46
  7. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    thanks for the comments Neil, and yes I'll keep the RR going. Though I must admit I have literally just found out that he was referring to something that only happened last week and not last year which was the incident I thought he meant. I'm in a bit of a news blackout as far as finding out stuff that is going on.
    #47
  8. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    I'm on the island of Ile aux Nattes, where life is relaxed, everything is man(or woman)-powered and the fastest thing is...
    [​IMG]

    not sure what, but stuff being paddled over to the next island. I can't complain about the neighbourhood

    [​IMG]

    Or the neighbours

    [​IMG]
    #48
  9. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    I had a bit of an oil leaking problem, as luck would have it, I found an Italian guy with bikes and so could explain to him in Spanish what was happening. Although I can get by in French (English is barely spoken over here) I am still a lot more comfortable talking bike stuff in Spanish after months of travel in Latin America.
    And then I lucked out even more as the mechanic turned out to be Swiss and he even spoke English

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    Swiss mechanic- Giovanni, at work

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    I left Suzi in his capable hands overnight, meanwhile I was getting around on bicycle rickshaw, here's the view form the passenger seat.

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    The kids watching my every move from their vantage point in the tree
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    I hailed a passing pirogue

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    And use it to get back to the main island, to retrieve Suzi

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    This time, I hail a tuk tuk plying the route along the beaches

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    I know someone is going to ask what was wrong with Suzi - but I can't explain beyond...the mechanic had to put silicone stuff somewhere to stop the oil coming out and replace a couple of bolts.

    The lemur came back down to play again

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    and later brought his friend

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    They're incredibly gentle as they take the banana from my hand, licking my fingers clean and then softly holding my hand to check for any more. Their paws feel more like a baby's hand.

    The passing traffic from my hut

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    Another tough day in paradise, I have a restful [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #49
  10. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

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    Paridise. :tb
    #50
  11. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    It was 3.00am and I was abruptly woken by a sharp pain in my elbow, torch on I took a look

    [​IMG]:huh

    Two puncture wounds and my elbow already swelling up, I had one thought...scorpion and it must be in my bed somewhere.

    I searched round but couldn't find one, there's a mosquito net over the bed so nothing could have fallen on me.
    I saw this little guy



    [​IMG]

    A centipede about 4-5 inches long. I knocked him off onto the floor and he scurried away.

    The next morning when I saw my host, he saw my elbow, announced there are no scorpions on this island and that it's a centipede bite. He was appalled when, upon asking if I had killed it, I reluctantly admitted I'd merely taken its photo not realising it was the culprit.
    Apparently it's a pretty nasty poison, bites can swell to the size of a mango and remain like that for weeks. I was lucky, just small swelling but I was feeling nauseous for the rest of the day until the toxin was out of my body.
    #51
  12. openroad7

    openroad7 openroad7

    Joined:
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    17
    Location:
    Sydney, AUS
    Hi Tiffany, I'm Kevin from Australia. Just stumbled upon your thread and have now subscribed to it. I was over there myself a few months ago and had a great time, but I wasn't camping out and doing it as rough and ready as yourself. I think that you have an amazing free spirit to do so. :thumb

    Saw your youtube trailer and now understand what an experienced adventure rider you are. Well done on everything you have managed to achieve thus far. Commitments at home here in Australia have prevented me from undertaking that long journey a lot of us only dream about. Stories like yours are inspiring for the majority of us caught in the 9 to 5 world. You're living the dream .. go girl!

    Now that centipede bite would have scared the bejesus outta me, so well done on gutsing that out. And you couldn't even bring yourself to harm a bug like that LOL.. very kind!

    The Malagasy people are lovely, aren't they? Here are a few of my links. Some photos I just uploaded to the Smugmug photo sharing site, and some video footage of my own trip in 2 parts.

    Stay safe and happy trails for the rest of the journey.

    http://openroad7.smugmug.com/Madagascar

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PqE__dIQkI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOFsARjHCpI&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLC639E22B9E881429

    Cheers,

    Kevin
    Sydney, AUS
    #52
  13. Rinty

    Rinty Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    591
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    With those Lemurs around, I'd be staying about a month on that island!

    Enjoying your report!
    #53
  14. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Location:
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    I've been off-line for seven days, ever since my sister arrived and we hit the road heading south west, we have now reached the Mozambique Channel and are in the town of Morondava after a journey that included three days paddling down the Tseribhina River in a pirogue (dug put canoe) with Suzi the bike precariously balanced in it - photos to follow.

    Just checking in really to let people know I'm alive.

    [​IMG]
    #54
  15. Paddygfw

    Paddygfw Adventurer

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    Location:
    Newfoundland
    Thank you for checking in:nod....Your fans worry about you:thumb
    #55
  16. Dr LC8

    Dr LC8 ...soon or later

    Joined:
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    982
    Location:
    Manchester...but from Rome!

    Have you crossed the wash-out river? It was on the way to Morondava, few k after the end of the long 100km gravel stretch.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    It was quite challenging:eek1

    Nic
    #56
  17. openroad7

    openroad7 openroad7

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    Sydney, AUS
    Hi Nic,

    The road from Miandrivazo to Morondava has pot-holed sections, but hardly any gravel sections to factor in along the RN34/RN35 route these days. Travelled that road just a few months back. I do remember that bridge too but only needed to ease off on speed a bit, so likely some basic repair work has been done there recently too. Must've been a real challenge a few years back in the wet season.

    OR7
    #57
  18. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    Location:
    Auburn, CA
    Fantastic stuff, Tiffany, as always!! :clap

    You really had a sparkle in your eyes when you talked of Madagascar during your visit with us. I'm really happy to see that you're there and enjoying yourself.

    Safe travels, and thanks for the great write-up!

    Cheer!

    Al & Holly
    #58
  19. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

    Joined:
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    I hadn't realised people would actually be worrying - my Mum doesn't, she is the laid back type, her response to being told that my GPS SOT locator distress beacon going off when I was in the Himalayas was very comical:rofl

    Good to hear you guys are following and enjoying- and yes Madagascar is everything I had hoped it would be and more.

    My sister is with me now for the next three weeks, this was her arrival at the airport last week

    [​IMG]


    For some reason her boyfriend is a bit concerned about her safety while travelling with me:eek1
    #59
  20. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    thanks for that update guys, as I came down the river and through Belo sur Tseribhina to get here, I yet to experience the road. But I'm not sure anything will compare to dange levels as being in the little pirogue with the bike, four other people and a chicken for three days!
    I'll be heading east via that road and will let you know how I get on.
    #60