The last time from Mauritius and deep sea diving – I went back home to Ne Delhi – to de compress perhaps from the sights and sounds of a new adventure and another milestone on my journeys.
This time though taking in Madagascar – I knew I just had to push further and see more of this continent. It was as if Africa was welcoming me with its open arms.
Perhaps it was the home coming of its prodigal son. I had spent over 15 years in the bosom of Africa when my father had worked in Nigeria . I had gone to school at Lagos and had holidayed in my childhood at Kenya and Ethiopia. Africa was in my blood and I’s learned to swim here at the tender age of 6 whilst catching the waves of the Pacific Ocean.
This rich land of culture and natural resources and yet so impoverished.
This dichotomy is what I wanted to explore further and see why a land so ancient and so deep in it’s ethnic and cultural diversity has not yet taken wings and and most of it’s people live victim to poverty, hunger and disease.
A land so fertile in minerals, soil, rivers and waterfalls. A land of wild animals and beasts so beautiful, a land of such natural beauty but hampered as it remains weak and impoverished.
But as for now other thoughts were swarming my mind and I planned to move ahead like an explorer in the 21st century and I decided to cover five more countries with Kenya, Mozambique , Tanzania , Zambia and Zimbabwe also while at it!
I took Londry with me and started my my bookings done in a contiguous journey on Kenya Airways and all for US$ 3000. I was pleasantly amazed how soon I had all my tickets and all I needed were the e visa for Zimbabwe and Zambia which I initiated on my computer.
In an hour we were driving out of Antananarivo toward Antsirabe where we planned to see the volcanic lakes. The ride was breezy and I kept stopping the car to take pictures of the most beautiful country side of this nation.
Mountains , hillocks , farms , canals , rivers, ponds and the people. At sunset the sun as if burst into flames of orange, yellow, pink and purple.
I took some amazing shots of this and was very excited by my journey ahead. There was a sense of positivity and un befuddled euphoria within me.
I saw it’s age old railway station and off course the town post office which I found interesting in its shape and wall colours used.
We drove down duty lanes through a farm land to finally arrive at the Tritriva Lake.
A group of street kids selling various artefacts befriended me and took my down the narrow mountain goat path and right down to this exotic volcanic lake. We walked down singing and dancing and I tried to learn Malagasy from the kids and they in turn trying to learn English from me!
Finally I saw it the green lake and I plunged into it and it was icy cold but I swam and swam till the other end of the rock feeling like some kind of a Neptune!
Londry my latest African aide de camp took pictures , on our way back we saw some brave souls trying to do a zip tie like over the lake. Knowing fairly well where I fell on the wight category I knew I should not try this! Up hill was even more exhausting as the climb was steep . At the end i thanked the kid’;s a gulped a bottle of mineral water. We then drove to Andraikiba lake to watch another spectacle – a cock fight my guy informed me!
It was crazy near the banks of the river as we walked into a ring of cock fighters and yes fighting with cocks is a regular sport here and people gamble on their favourite cocks.
The ring is made in the middle and the cock that pushes the other one out of the ring wins not very much like an avian Sumo wrestling match mind you! These are mean cocks, tall, fat and fully fathered with huge beaks and necks.
There were two rings and a maddening crowd of hundreds of fans cheering and praying for their cock to win. It was interesting to watch and my first experience of a live organised cock fight. The cocks meanwhile did not have it good as any pugilist does not. Beautiful creatures these but to man’s sad wanton ness for violence lost and often bleeding at times and were often drenched in water like two wild boxers. It was an experience. Not all good – but a wonderment how we aim for the lowest !!