Writing this logbook turns out to be more difficult and exhausting as expected. First, you need internet. Can't get it everywhere. Second, you need time. But we have lots of stuff to do, go to, organize, images reviewing, video checking, copying, logbook entries corrections are necessary as well.. Third, you need muse. And a bit of silence. Since so many many many things happen and are willing to be discovered, muse becomes a rare source.
|So many things... where to look at?|
It was very scary. Klara was fevering. She couldn't move, her legs hurt, were burning. The manager of the place we have at been was a big help. He got us penicillin. It helped to recover the wound, but also emerged some depression and digestion problems. We were stuck in paradise. Sick and afraid. And while Klara recovered slowly, I ripped open the nail of my toe because of clumsiness born out of frustration. Bloody seconds. Pain. Klara and I - injury siblings. But in all evil, the seed of good finds a hideout to raise. At that certain hotel a guy named Johannes Neureuther showed up. He is a German cinematographer and a funny person as well. We quickly became friends and now he accompanies our journey.
Nevertheless, our situation got worse. The phone and internet connection of all island Saint Marie broke down. Suddenly it was impossible to get money from the banks. Next, the shipping company changed plans all of the sudden. That led us to not be able to get to Masoala National park. Ile Saint Marie became our dead end of the first half of our journey. Something good in something bad: The manager of hotel La Crique, Marc Blondel, gave us a very sophisticated interview about ecotourism and the way Madagascar works. Afterwards, I had a mind-blowing encounter: The first time of my life, while walking through the bay, two tame lemurs appeared and played with me. Their fine warm hands and fingers, their dog-like loyalty and their cat-like elegance evoke my wish to have a lemur myself. These creatures are so enormously beautiful and touching…
|Kiki, tame beach Sifaka|
|Introducing Johannes, our new compagnion, trickster and globetrotter|
|Interview with Marc Blondel, sophisticated manager of nice Ile Saint Marie hotel "La Crique"|
The Ile Saint Marie incidents won a melancholic good bye after all. It was about time to leave the island after all. It was impossible. Seemingly. Thanks to buddy Johannes, we found a solution, right on time, and decided to go back to Tana. The first part of our journey was over. Two souls are living in my chest. Our journey back was filled with a tickling bit of emptiness.
|An aura of melancholy covered our ambitious plans and successes|
Taxi Brousse is Taxi Puke
Under the influence of our injuries we were unable to go by bike for several days. Thus, we took a taxi brousse up to the capital. The ride felt like sitting in an orange box. Taxi brousse is cheap and on Madagascar, its the main way to get somewhere. In those small busses ten to thirty people find a ride to their goals. Johannes and Klara were suffering by the shaking and serpentine curves. And the speed. Most people on Madagascar die in taxi brousses, because the drivers are just crazy. We are a little crazy, too, but not suicidal. Again, thanks to Klaus Konnerth, we chartered a van for ourselves and left down to Antsirabe where we stayed two days at Klaus' and Nicole´s cosy home.
|Interviewing Klaus Konnerth, great guide and great help: www.urlaub-auf-madagaskar.com|
The most beautiful city on Madagascar. Traces of colonization times are easy to find. Many vazahas make their living there. Introducing Klaus' dog Bruce, a massive Mastif, friendly, lots of spit floats out of his wabbering mouth and he is always good to joke on him. Klaus gives shelter and job to Justine, the housekeeper, a woman from Tana, who has a wonderful daughter - Stephie. While we've been there, Stephie learned to ride a bike. In the evenings Nicole and Justine created wonderful meals for us and Klaus told us stories of his travels and gave us great tips and hints to plan our route. In addition to that all, Klaus even borrowed us one of his bikes in order to give Johannes the chance to be our biker comrade on the way to the rainforest of Ranomafana.
|Pousse-Pousse are man pulled taxies... mostly without brakes.. :(|
|Klara back on track and taking pictures again|
|Antsirabe highlands with typical highland village buildings in its country side|
|A village market while dusk|
|Children are very important in Madagascar - the average age of Madagassy is 15|
The second part of the journey
We hopped on our bikes and had the most beautiful road views ever. That is not a simple exaggeration. Except for some hills that nearly killed untrained Johannes, most of the time it was rolling down the highlands. Beauty all around. It was captivating. Whatsoever, every good inhabits something bad. The bad thing that we've experienced was that we didn't make it to our shelter of choice. Instead, right after dark - taxi brousses are the natural enemies of bikers especially at night - we made it into a stinky little village where a Monsieur Joseph offered us his only little rathole for an unfair price. Sleeping in small self-made pawn beds and being visited by a rat at around 2 o'clock in the morning is fun only one time in life. Not to mention that behind his friendly mask he charged us with double price for a motor oil coffee. What - at the end - lead us to the decision to camp in the wilderness the next night when again we didn't reach our goal because of the passion to make photos and film.
|Triple two looking good ;)|
|Typical highland home|
|Madagsacar's highlands are easy to bike and good to see :)|
|Taking pictures drives us way of our travel plans|
|Rice fields - Madagassy eat mor rice per capita than any other people on earth|
|Madagassy people love to burn things..|
|Simple methods, old style works - producing bricks as usual|
|Traveling with Johannes is fun|
|Johannes is a biker for sure|
|Rolling rolling rolling|
A dangerous method
I'll keep it short. Some told us not to camp wild. It was supposed to be a dangerous area. But since everywhere everyone told us about the dangers at wherever we were and moreover the area felt peaceful and save we just did it. Stories and fantasy are seemingly more dangerous than a danger itself. At night, the tiniest sound made our hearts pounding. A truck stopping and changing tires almost killed us in fear and the feeling of being a sneaky soldier in war. Now, we are still alive. It wasn't too bad after all.
|Waking up in the poor home of Mr. Joseph and his eight children|
|Wild camping in an area that was supposed to be dangerous but it wasn't|
Reaching the Rainforest
Serpentines into a rainforest valley by dust, rolling and eating fresh guavas at the same time, a stunning view. Guys, go to Madagascar and go by bike! The last days, I've seen more wonderful species and creepy insects in wildlife than ever before in home forests or zoos. Nature inhabits more beauty and sense to live than anything I can imagine. Here are just a few examples...
|Bold leaftailed gecko sneaking in the tree|