The tour company operator sent a new tire to our driver on Christmas Day, and it arrived by taxi bus at 7 am on Boxing Day. So at 7:30, he was ready to start the day’s 10 hour drive.
For the first hour, the land was flat and dotted with baobabs. There were villages between the fields and rice paddies. Housing in the city was mixed, and in villages, it was largely wood or bamboo. People would build a frame from eucalyptus branches stripped of leaves and small branches. Many homes were small — no bigger than 12 by 12 feet. The walls were woven bamboo mats and the roofs were either correlated sheet metal or thatched palm leaves. Needless to say, these structures are not strong and can be flattened by a cyclone.
After we turned east, the land became rolling hills and villages were less frequent. The countryside was quite beautiful, though dry and not productive. As we got to the centre of the island, low lying land was cultivated as rice paddies but as we went east, it reminded me of the ranch land near Merritt BC.
As we entered Antsirabe, we passed the Three Horse Brewery. THB seems to be everywhere in Madagascar and it’s branding is ubiquitous. It’s colours are yellow on red.
Before we got to our hotel, we were diverted by a fun fair. Carousel and Ferris Wheels clogged the main boulevard, so we detoured to get to our hotel, the Couleur Cafe.
The countryside between Morondava and Antisirabe.
As we approached the central highlands, we noticed that wherever there was lowland and water, there were terraced rice paddies.