Diego - Day 1

I last left off in Antananarivo (Tana for short) and on my way to DIE. You'd think that the airport would pick another code...anyway.

We arrived (safely) in Diego and were greated by our guide for the four days we were there. Our flight was really late, so he picked us up, threw our bags in the bag, and starting driving to our tour.

Diego felt like a much calmer place than Toamasina.
But still had the same charms...like random police/military checks.
And locals playing the game of "Just how many people can we fit on one truck".
Our guide told us that we would first stop for lunch. In this extremely remote area. We were greeted by two german sheppard guard dogs. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've ever seen any german sheppards in Madagascar.
We were offered a "tour" of the grounds. Of which included lemurs - in cages.
Ahh....not exactly my idea of fun.... Later on I asked our guide if it was legal to cage lemurs. He told me that it's not - but that the government isn't about to go into the bush to check if there are any caged lemurs. I had to just try not to think about it. Okay. I thought about and thought about letting them out of their cages...and then tried not to think about it..
And then the real adventure started. We were served HOMEMADE PORK SAUSAGES.
The reason I took the two pictures above was because I wanted them to be found as evidence when our two dead bodies turned up. Eating locally cooked food, raw vegetables - cleaned in local water? Bascially asking for a death sentence. But...we tried them, said a little prayer, and hoped for the best.
Our guide later told us that there was fresh water from the stream - which was actually purified locally. First I've ever heard of that in MG! Yay!! We may not die from our lunch!!!
The scenery was amazing, and soon enough we were on our way to see the Tsingys.
On the way we passed a reforestation area. The government is planting rows and rows of eucalyptus trees.
And here they are. They are most likely made from clay and easily deteriorate with time and weather.
It was just before sunset so hard to get some good pictures.
Ah, my mom making me proud - learning how to do the self protrait. No outing is complete without a self portrait!
We continued to drive until we got to the top of the mountain. What an incredible view!!
If you look in the background you can see the Tsingys behind me.
Our driver drove us around and down the mountain until we were at the same level of the Tsingys.
Before we entered the national park, we had to pass by a gate. The local children all came running around to see our truck and started waving madly, and saying, "Bonjour vazas!!!!" (vaza = foreigner). They didn't ask for candy or anything. They were just so excited to see some foreigners! They were so cute!
We had to hike down a bit. Our guide talked about where the word comes from - Tsingy - means to walk on the tips of your toes - in Malagache.
The ground was this weird soft clay in oranges and reds, with a little water flowing through it. I took off my shoes and turned the bottoms of my feet a little bit red.
Very interesting trip. Of course, not complete without a self portrait! Tomorrow - off to Les Trois Baies!

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