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East Sussex, United Kingdom
I'm a 62yr old AOL refugee, living on the south coast of England. I love travelling and sharing my photos. I live with Nina and Katinka, my two Maine Coon cats.


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Crystal Clock

Monday, 20 October 2008

Sorry about the last post, blame AOL, they kicked me offline when I had all my photos up and the text done and ready to paste! I've been adding stuff to my sidebar including this rather pretty crystal clock I found last night. If I've got to stay here I want pretty stuff around me! I don't relish writing all this again but here goes, I thought we were free of the AOL gremlins here on Blogspot!As I was saying, on Wednesday 1st October at 5.30am my chauffeur driven S-Type Jaguar pulled up outside to take me to Heathrow. He and I had both been told we were going to Terminal 4 so off we went. He departed, I went to check in only to find I should be at Terminal 5. I had to go down escalators and get the Heathrow Express to Terminal 5 ~ taking two trains and wishing I didn't have so much baggage. I flew to Charles De Gaulle airport, Paris to be told my seat on the flight was cancelled! I was told to wait in the corner, I felt like a naughty girl! Nearly two hours later a man approached me and said he'd got my flight reservation re-booked for me. Off I flew to Madagascar, arriving there at 5am Thursday morning. Our tour group of thirteen waited for our luggage to come round on the carousel.... no show! It was still in Paris ~ had I said I wish I didn't have so much luggage?! I didn't mean it, honest! We located our tour manager, a lovely guy called Mohamed who proved to be an angel throughout the holiday. He took us all into baggage claims where we had to add our names to a form then he took us to our hotel assuring us that this had happened before and we'd get our luggage back sometime.
Antananarivo is a vast city, the capital of the country. On the roads are cars, lorries, buses, rickshaws and oxcarts being pulled by Zebu the native Ox of Madagascar. Would you believe that the traffic runs smoothly with no hold ups and not one single traffic light! A lesson to be learnt there! Mohamed took us to a supermarket where we all bought a couple of T-shirts, toothpaste, toothbrush etc to see us through. Our hotel is the tall building in the centre of the photo below. It's a Hilton hotel, they left bowls full of fresh mangoes and other fruit on each landing for guests to eat in their rooms.

This is a butchers stall in Antananarivo. I'm not sure I'd trust the freshness of the meat with the temperature being almost 90F!
While there we visited a beautiful lake in the city, a haven for wild birds ~ flocks of egrets, herons, grebes, ducks, fist sized butterflies and the odd yellow billed kite flying overhead. It was so serene and beautiful, you wouldn't know you were in the middle of a bustling city!

We also visited the cities' Botanical Gardens which has a small zoo and beautiful plants and a lake. On Saturdaymorning it was time to leave and make our way to Antsirabe. We left Mohamed behind as he was going to the airport to see if our luggage was on the next flight. There are three flights a week so we prayed it'd be there. When the temperature is so high you need a change of clothes. I'd got very inventive, I was washing my underwear and blow drying it with the hotel hairdrier! Lol! The only thing I really needed and couldn't replace was my battery charger for my camera. Luckily I'd charged it up before leaving home but I was relying on getting it back on Saturday evening or it'd mean no more photos.... too awful to even contemplate!We drove to Antsirabe, passing paddy fields, red brick villages and a lot of burial tombs along the way. There doesn't seem to be cemeteries, people are just buried in the countryside. Driving past a river we saw scores of people doing their laundry and hanging it on the bank to dry. If our luggage wasn't found quickly I could see us joining them! We visited a village and saw a lady making sisal rope using her leg to twist the cords. We also stopped at a place where they recycle aluminium, liquifying it and making new cooking pots. Fast forward to Saturday night....... we arrived at out hotel just past 6pm and saw a very welcome sight. Mohamed was standing at reception surrounded by our luggage! I was so excited to see it I jumped up and down squealing 'My case, it's my case!' while another lady in our group started dancing round hers. We were being watched very closely by a puzzled reception staff! ROFL! We hadn't seen them for 3½ days! If you're reading this Mohamed all I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart, you saved my holiday from becoming a disaster, readers of this blog would never believe I'd gone if I hadn't brought back photos for them to see! Now the holiday could really begin, I charged my camera battery that night.

Madagascar is a very poor country, it's hard to imagine living in these shacks.
They did have beautiful views though and a wonderful sunny climate!
You can see from the next two photos where the people cook in their homes. They have no chimneys and the smoke coming from the upstairs windows where they cook blackens the surrounding brickwork.

Here's the lady making rope, she did it in seconds!

Our next destination was Ranomafana next door to the rain forest where we'd spot our first wild lemurs.
I'll finish off here and post it before AOL see I'm almost done and kick me offline again!


Joan said...

Hi Jeanntte, I have been laughing to myself while reading this entry imagining you doing your washing in the river glad you did not have to do that and then jumping up and down at your suitcase great entry lovely pictures as always. Love Joan.

Julia said...

Your pictures are as always just stunning. I would love to get to travel like you do. Thank goodness for computers so I can pretend I am there with you and see all with your wonderful camera.

Lainey Laine said...

So enjoyed that post Jeannette!! Your photos are absolutely wonderful! Must have been awful waiting for your case, Im still laughing at the sight of you hair-drying your pants! hee hee! I love the photos of the children. I also especially love the lemurs! Love Lainey

ADB said...

The luggage saga fortunately had a happy ending, Jeannette. Madagascar is a very poor country, and I'm holding my breath against the coming cyclone season - first storm approaching now. Fantastic pictures, more, more, more! lol

Chris/cacklinrosie101 said...

Amszing, Jeannette, purely amazing. Such exotic animals and scenery, yet the poverty really speaks to me. The huts and all the laundry lined up yet the children look very happy.

I guess as long as AOL is our server, we will continue with internet problems :(

Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures! xx

Diama ~*a.k.a*~ Cherry said...

OMG Gorgeous photos aww next time take me with you please jeannette i admire all the places you go i wish i could travel like that.

gina said...

an entertaining and informative post with wonderful pix!! 3 days without your luggage! i can imagine your happy dance. lol the poverty really makes me count my blessings, but the children do appear happy. can't wait to read and see more of your wonderful trip!

Lisa said...

What an interesting trip, my gosh I cannot imagine the things you've seen and the pictures are just fantastic!! I love looking at them, what a contrast to what I am used to with our modern homes & conveniences. I don't think I would be doing too much laundry considering the method used!! I did howl though at the thought of you joining them.

Eww..that butcher station is awful, I cannot imagine people don't die of horrendous illness eating meat like that.

Thank goodness your luggage arrived. It sounds like Mohammed was a life saver in many ways.

Great entry, you do know I live vicariously through you don't you!

D said...

oh I'm still so jealous!! The picture marvelous as always.. your story.. OMG .. I giggled a few times Glad you had fun and thrilled you're back
love ya

Kathy said...

These pictures are amazing! The country is such a contrast in beauty and poverty. The wild life is beautiful. The people are lovely.

You are so lucky to have experienced this adventure! Thanks for sharing the pictures. I've never seen anything like it in my life.

Hugs, Kathy

Jeannette said...

I always love your pictures. Oh how I wish I could travel and see all the places that I always promised myself I would.

I am so sorry about your sister, my friend. I had no idea. It must have been absolutely awful for you.

See we both have the same clock. It is so pretty.

My Creative Spirit award given to me by Gina

My Creative Spirit award given to me by Gina

Superior Scribbler award given to me by Jeannette

Superior Scribbler award given to me by Jeannette

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