No electricity again this morning. My head torch is already becoming a part of my daily routine. I’m looking forward to unpacking and staying unpacked. We visited Isalo National Park today. It’s a massive park that has these outstanding valleys of super clear water. There are trail markers along the path that visitors place a rock on to show the way for others. Way back when the tribes of this area would do the same so they could remember the way for next time.
The landscape here is beautiful. Similar to parts of Nevada with the red earth and also parts of the foothills west of Nanton. There are rolling hills with rocks scattered throughout here and there. However, the rice paddy terracing and red clay houses quickly remind me that I am no where near home. We walked across fairly flat land taking in the gorgeous views and then out of no where a sneaky canyon in the rocks led us down to the most beautiful oasis. The water was fresh and incredibly inviting after a walk in the hot sun.
I haven’t yet acclimatized to the temperature, and I’m hoping it just feels hotter than it actually is.
With such a culturally diverse group of volunteers there seems to be a constant exchange of ‘we do this’ and ‘what does that mean’. But so far the most intriguing and totally necessary word to incorporate into my vocab is ‘ faffing’ . Used by British people this word means to ‘dick around’ in a much more elegant way.
There are a ton of medicinal plants in Madagascar, mostly due to the lack of money and pharmaceutical resources, but this plant with pink flowers is commonly muddled down and made into a tea drink to ease fever symptoms.
For lunch this magical place popped out of the trees. There was a beautiful place settings on a rock picnic table. We watched the lemurs playing, ate some zebu off of bamboo skewers and took in the fresh air of Madagascar.
After lunch the hiking continued. Lots of manoeuvring over and around large boulders and every now and then, carved stairs would pop out of the ground. There are spectacular views of waterfalls, and massive rock faces. We saw brown lemurs and ring tailed lemurs. The baby brown lemurs are probably the cutest baby animals I have ever seen.
There are also these large cube like structures made out of brick or rock that are scattered throughout the park. These are family graves. Each time a family member dies the tomb is opened, the bones are stirred and the new bones are incorporated. This is usually quite a large ceremony for the families.
This park also has fire proof trees…. what smart trees!!
Fun fact about dave, the Mazdave master. He has a tattoo on his forarm that says. ‘R l’. When asked what it means he told us that it’s supposed to say ‘RD’. RD are his initials but it hurt to much so he was unable to get the ‘D’ finished. Funny character this dave guy.
In our travels we have seen many vehicles stuffed full of people. We’re talking 12-15 people in a corolla. Every time I get uncomfortable in the Mazdave I think of them and then realize how good I’ve got it.