60 km in 8H15
It was yesterday, and yet the departure from Barachois in Saint-Denis seems a long way away. There is always this notion of time that dominates our journeys. Living the present with intensity and planning the near future makes our daily existence a rich experience with lots to say. The blank page will not be for tomorrow.
We are getting nearer and nearer to Tana. Yesterday the scenery change; there are more forests, pine trees and eucalyptus but also fruit trees and small plots of cultivated ground on the hillside and rice fields on burnt land. For the first time we can see high-voltage power lines and the houses are different too, more wood and cement, more cellular transmission towers and more villages.
Serge seems to be rested after yesterday’s exhaustion. But he had a good appetite and ate roast chicken and homemade French fries. That’s all but it’s not bad because fatigue often means loss of appetite. This evening and in the morning the team wore long pants and long sleeved shirts because the temperature has cooled off. You can’t say it is cold but it’s not hot. The variations in temperature are noticeable because during the day it is hot. Our bodies have to acclimate and yesterday evening Serge was cold.
This morning at the start there was a fine mist which was to Serge’s advantage because he made good time and we were late for the first refueling. I spent time on the computer because there was WIFI, which now we won’t have again until Tana. There were e-mails to send and responses to be given, bank accounts to be seen….and the road goes on. Serge has trouble understanding why I spend so much time on the computer but since I am following his progress all day in the vehicle I don’t have much time later. It is an organization he is not used to and I think he would prefer that I have more time to dedicate to him when his day is over.
Tahina left to run ahead of Serge for 15 km, the time it took for the mist to give way to a blue sky and a blazing sun. The climb of la Madraka is waiting, at kilometer 38 it starts going up to an altitude of 1,460 meters. Heavily loaded trucks strain to climb whereas Serge, like a metronome, trots along and is even smiling. At kilometer 51 we pass our stopping place for the night: a dorm with double deck beds for 10 people. We will be 4 and the height of comfort is a toilet in the dorm. As for the shower, it will be cold and on the ground floor, just enough to clear your head.
At 17H39 we have finished dinner and Serge heads for bed; it is not quite dark. Tomorrow we will arrive in Tana and will be welcomed by the whole Malagasy Tours team. We will leave Momo, Bob and Tahina but also Monika tomorrow evening. Friday we will take another main road to reach Majunga, in a region which is more arid than the western region we have just crossed.