64.7 km in 9H10
A slight correction concerning nature here which is so generous in fruit, vegetables and water, which I spoke about several days ago. We are in a region where the vegetation is lush but that is not the case in the southern part of Madagascar, beneath the Tropic of Capricorn, which is arid and subject to drought. In that part of the island there are no rice paddies, fruit trees or water. There is famine in that southern part of Madagascar, and consequently more relief work than elsewhere. I forget that we must not make generalizations in a country that is 1,500 km long by 500 km wide at its largest point. Madagascar is a country without borders because there are 5000 km of coastline.
This year the capital also suffered serious floods, due to ceaseless rain during the first three months. Several NGOs have mobilized to bring aide to the stricken population and when we arrived in Tana we could see a great number of tents and makeshift shelters along the road. Living conditions are very precarious and the government is unable to cope with all these problems.
In today’s photos you can see some nice shots of lemurs, which Monika was lucky to see in the nature reserve of Perinet (d’Andasible), 1 km from the RN#2. The reserves are protected and the animals live freely. The Perinet reserve is one of the most frequently visited in the country because of its proximity to Tananarive. In addition to the vasahas, the park is also visited by schools and the Malagasy from the capital. I will let you do your research to see how many species of lemurs live in Madagascar. Each species has its own geographic territory. In this park there are 3 species which you can see in the photos, the biggest of which, the Indri, has no tail. Thanks, Monika, for these beautiful photos.
Serge hankered all day yesterday for a chocolate bar and he kept seeing lavender cows. Our mouths were watering. It must have had something to do with Easter. Serge slept well and since it was complicated to go out for a pee, he urinated in a mineral water bottle that acted as a chamber pot. This morning there was more than one liter of urine in the bottle, which shows how much he drinks and eliminates!
Today the first 25 kilometers were difficult. 500 meters from the start there was a climb of 3.5% over 7 km and it announced a tough day. Serge went over several passes, one of which was at 1000 meters. The sea seemed awfully far away.
After the 25th kilometer, Serge explained that he breathed in deeply several times, inhaling “the positive,” the good energy,” and exhaling “the fatigue”. It’s a technique of sophrology that he applied while running and it worked. He told me that when I said that I found he had run a more relaxed and laid-back race, in spite of the difficult terrain.
Tonight we are staying in a small hotel in Moramanga, which has a hot shower with water pressure. The notion of luxury is relative and it is a real luxury to have running water in these conditions, like electricity, which at home means we can have a refrigerator and freezer. Traveling means we can become aware of the value of things and enjoy them. Things are so easy at home, in France, that we don’t even think that you can live differently and yet, we enjoy taking life as it comes, a big passion fruit which we ate at the roadside, a smile, or a handshake and during that time Serge is following his route to Tana, where he expects to arrive on Thursday. We will meet with Olivier and his team from Malagasy Tours; the time it takes for Monika to take some photos and then board her plane for Paris. On tomorrow’s program there is a 6% climb for 10 km!
Middleton is waiting for Serge at Majunga – delivery was made and she is fine.
There is a video on line where Serge talks about his 12 day sea voyage between Reunion Island and Madagascar.
Approaching Hautes Terres -
64.7 km in 9H10