Thursday, April 17, 2014
Snippets of Scenery
Maybe I should have pushed myself out the door of my comfortable hotel and experienced something of the nightlife of the small, poor, bustling city, where the driver and I have stopped. However, I got excited when I discovered good internet connection in my room and rationalized greedily that I should do a post before it becomes impossible as we head south. The truth of the matter was that I simply didn't feel tonight like going through the hassle of walking on pock-holed streets and sidewalks in the darkness amid a throng of local folks to look for that memorable moment, all the while being hassled by rickshaw pullers and street hawkers. It'a not like a backpacking-wearing, camera-toting, older white guy goes unnoticed. Besides,on rare occasions, it can be dangerous.
People have asked me to share scenery pictures to get a sense what Madagascar looks like. I find fulfilling this request most challenging, since it is a country about 3/4 the size of California, and, like it, has vastly different climactic zones. So far I have been in the capital Antananarivo, an eastern rainforest, and today, the beginning of the south. Within these zones alone, I have seen much diversity.
The first photo is from a prominent mount in the center of Tana, the short name for the capital. It shows the sports complex, which was built and paid by the Chinese allegedly as part of a deal to allow Asian business interests to buy up the county's entire bauxite industry. Behind it is the monument in the lake commemorating independence from France in 1961. I'll spare close-up city scenes which, as you can imagine, show much poverty, a subject I have intentionally avoided in my posts so far.
The second, third and fourth photo shows the landscape transitioning to fertile highlands. I have oodles of pictures of people harvesting the fields and orchards. It is Fall here and vegetables and grains, such as corn and rice, are drying on mats everywhere.
The fifth and sixth photos show the primary rainforest It has towering trees, dense undergrowth and great lemur habitat.
As you can see by the brevity of my comments, I have run out of steam. My eyes are heavy and I have reached a point where I can barely type. I hope this has helped give you some visual idea of this amazing country. I will do my best to furnish more the next time. Thank you all for your loving encouragement and good night!