Dec 14: Nosy Manga Be and our first flight problem

We got up at 4:30, so that we could leave by 5 am. I thought that was ambitious but was prepared to be surprised. The boatman came just before 5, and there were a few other people around. But it wasn’t time to load the boat. More fuel was needed.

The important thing is that we left. And two hours later made it to Nosy Manga Be. I chose not to go around; Anita and Alden took a two hour walk and I enjoyed the sound of the waves lapping on the shore. 

We went back to the town, where the lodge owner greeted us and took her back to her hotel. She made us too much food and overcharged us for it. She took us to the airport and left us there. The best part, though, was the swimming pool at the hotel. She invited us to swim; we declined before taking a close look. My bathing suit was still damp from the day before. Once we looked at the pool, we discovered it has fish in it. There is an ante pool, shallow and elevated from the main pool. It has a great many fish, which could be understandable. However, the main pool, clearly meant for swimming had at least four fish that were more than a foot long. We go swimming in the ocean with the express intent of seeing fish, so it seems odd that we balked at the thought of swimming in a rectangular, tiled swimming pool. 

Checking in at the airport was interesting. There was no computer and boarding passes were written by hand. The security check was someone manually feeling for forbidden things. 

The air didn’t move in the waiting room. People did, trying to find some respite from the heat. 

A while later, maybe an hour, someone started shouting. People gathered and an English speaking person told me that the flight was cancelled. Mayhem ensued. When it calmed down, we learned the airline was paying our taxi fare, our overnight accommodation, dinner and breakfast. We shared the taxi with Patrick and his colleagues from the University of Madagascar. This was their third displacement and they were familiar with the drill. Get a taxi chit at the airport, go to the airline office for the other chits, go to the hotel. 

Patrick and company came to Maroantsetra on Tuesday for a land use workshop on Wednesday. It was now Saturday and they were more than ready to return home. Patrick and perhaps one other are PhD candidates. I think the third man was their supervisor. 

They were continuing their stay at the Masoala Resort. We were put up at the Flameau Rose, or the Pink Flamingo. It was tiny (maybe six rooms) and had a very limited menu. After much discussion on dietary restrictions, we settled on fries and yellow rice. My only criteria for a hotel was that it have water, wifi, and power. The power went out before we were served our dinner and the waitress brought a glass, as requested, to put our flashlight in. This attracted every flying insect in a two block radius, so she cleverly brought a large bowl of water. I put the glass in the water and we proceeded to watch them drown. Although it might sound gruesome, it was very entertaining. 

The power came back on, although not during dinner. Our room was comfortable, and had a fan that worked when the power was on.  We could recharge our phones. We slept well, and made our 5:15 taxi to the airport with no difficulty.

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A beach on Nosy Manga Be. Nosy is the Malagasy word for “island”.

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Spot the leaf-tailed gecko!

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