Nosy Nights

I hesitate at the waters edge. Warm salty water sneaks up on my feet and threatens to soak my pants as I contemplate my next step onto the boat waiting for me. Trying to stay dry is challenging on this island, and I clearly picked the wrong outfit (pants jumpsuit) to go out in high tide tonight. Strong arms scoop me up, resolving my dilemma and effortlessly carry me onto the boat, setting me down among the locals en route to Ampang. High tide carries us quickly to the island village and I jump off the boat as the tides pulls back, running to shore, heading to meet my friends for some music – the only thing to do on weekend night in Nosy Komba.¬† Continue reading “Nosy Nights”

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Tides

Something is wrong. I wake up in the night with sharp, shooting pains in my stomach and spend the next 2 days on a mattress surrounded by onlookers to my public illness. I don’t care – I’m deliriously sick. I can’t keep anything down, even water makes me violently ill. God, Universe, Something (Italian doctor in Nosy Be) – please make me well again. A remote island isn’t an ideal place to be ill, and the only way to get treated is a nauseous, choppy boat ride to the next biggest island – Nosy Be. Take off your shoes, lay on the cool tile floor in what appears to be a hospital, and enter when you are called in for a blood test. My sickness has a name: Typhoid. Continue reading “Tides”

Tsingy

A rust colored dirt path leads me to the rock formations I’ve been so determined to see- Tsingy. Tsingy means to walk on tiptoes and it’s been said that Malagasy people crossed these jagged pointed rocks on their tiptoes (no idea if that’s true). I’ve spent a few sleepless nights googling these limestone pillars that point up to the sky and now I’m just a few kilometers from them.

Continue reading “Tsingy”

Taxi Brousse

“Boat!” is called out just after dawn as I head down to the beach to catch the daily boat en route to Nosy Be. After a pleasant 40 minute ride, we arrive in the port and wade through oily water to get some breakfast before our long journey to the amazing tsingy rocks in Ankarana, on the mainland of Madagascar. Continue reading “Taxi Brousse”

Wild Lemurs

My morning starts just after dawn before the bright Madagascar sun begins to bake the forests and radiate heat off the calm ocean water. I sleepily pull on my hiking boots and start hiking through the cool misty forests, climbing rock boulders, jumping over mud puddles, pulling myself up with vines, heading to the top of the lush volcanic island to watch wild lemurs. Continue reading “Wild Lemurs”

Madagascar

I wake up in the urban chaos of Johannesburg, and fall asleep in a secluded Madagascar island – no electricity, no light, no walls or even doors. The adjustment is quite hard for me. The first thing I notice about Madagascar is the heat- a wet heat that covers you in seconds, as if someone sprayed you with mist. I feel the humidity immediately and start peeling off layers before I even get from the plane into to the airport. I wait in about 5 lines, get stamps, signatures, my bag searched, then hop in a taxi which takes me to a small boat that takes me to my island home. I go rock climbing with my suitcase (backpack only next time) and settle into an island bungalow. Continue reading “Madagascar”

Joburg

Gritty, dirty, urban- a city that has its past written all over its streets. I walk down streets that resemble Harlem in New York, just broken down and without the diverse faces from around the world that make the urban hub so unique. I step over cracks, around trash, curiously looking at the empty buildings, the familiar graffiti art that adds character to the run down brick. I notice a guy following me, telling me about his penthouse down the street. He has been to New York once- Brooklyn, but can’t tell me where. I quickly duck into the only restaurant I’ve seen to lose my pursuer. Continue reading “Joburg”