A few of us designated a week to writing our research papers and decided it would be a good idea to change scenery… we decided to go to tamatave and then further to foulpointe, a beachy destination on the east coast. It took roughly 8 hours to get to tamatave, and another 2 hours after that to get to foulpointe… all by taxi brousse. Taxi brousses are essentially vans used for traveling throughout Madagascar – sounds perfectly normal and innocent, but oh my goodness it is not. First of all, they pack more people into the vans than what seems humanly possible… talk about serious violation of personal space. We’ve all had Malagasy smelly old men drool on us, fall asleep on us, try to hit on us while squished way too close together… it’s a pretty hilarious set up and makes for some funny stories. Sometimes chickens are involved, other times fish or cats… anything goes. Apart from the space component of the taxi brousses, the actual driving is very scary in my opinion… probably one of the most dangerous things we’ve done here. The roads are extremely windy, very often unpaved in many areas, and normally only allow room for one car width. No speed limits, no traffic laws or rules of any kind are involved, so huge trucks (usually full of either beer or omby) whip around bends way too fast and it makes for some sticky situations. Not to mention driving at night … not my favorite thing in the world!
Our week in foulpointe is defined by: beach, seafood, fruit, and research paper. People selling coconuts would walk up to you on the beach and chop it up right there for you… so refreshing. Also, mangos are in season right now and let me tell you ive never eaten anything so delicious. Litchis, as well… they are sooooo tasty. In lieu of a thanksgiving feast, we had a local fisherman catch us camarons (giant shrimp), a big fish, and lobster to grill for us (with of course rice and veggies)... which we ate on the beach. took a pirogue out to snorkel near the coral reef... the pirogues are hollowed out trees.