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Journey to Madagascar 2009 

October 22, 2009

Bouncing Back from Berenty

Start of the trip: the good dirt road; for a few miles it was like a superhighway

A bus for Malagasys; makes the #1 California look like a limo

Another lonely baobab tree

Spiny cactus: a non-native species

Three-cornered palm


The trip back from Berenty Reserve to Ft. Dauphin by minvan was on a Thursday, market day. We passed through a small town as we got closer to Ft. Dauphin. Its main street – only street for that matter – was the road we were on, and it was jammed with people selling, shopping, buying, talking, eating, running about, playing games, and generally doing what people do when they gather together. For the most part the fields were empty of workers; everyone was at the market, which happens once a week.

The trip took less time than the the trip up the day before, not because the road had improved miraculously overnight – it hadn’t – but because we made fewer stops along the way. The scenery was as great as it had been, but there was less activity to watch in the fields because the people were at the market.

The end of the Berenty visit marks the end of our exploration of the natural world in Madagascar. The time between now and Saturday night, when we fly back to Paris, will be taken up with a flight back to Tana and then the usual preparations before the long flight to Paris. We all are a bit tired and ready to go home. It will take me a while not to automatically wash my clothes in the sink each evening so they will be dry by morning. I have discovered that it is indeed possible to travel with no more than two of everything just so long as I don’t mind wearing nylon shirts and pants and washing clothes each evening. People here dry their clothes by draping them over the shrubbery, plants, trees etc. in the sun. I wonder what our neighbors in the city would think if we started to do the same!

On the other hand, I think it’s time to give up the nylon wardrobe for a spell. It’s a bit like living in plastic wrap.

I’ll post a later bog entry summing up some of my impressions of this remarkable island that is so far from so much of our familiar world, both geographically, economically, and culturally. This has been a truly memorable trip.

Filed under: Uncategorized — greg @ 10:06 am

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The Chief Penguin


Greg Farrington

Greg Farrington, Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences, is visiting the island of Madagascar. He is joined by his wife, and Academy researchers, who are surveying and assessing this biodiversity hotspot.

Visit the Farringtons' personal blog, Madagascar Adventure, for in-depth details of this Academy expedition.

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