The last morning of the river trip was a short paddle to the rendezvous with our new driver, Michel, who would be with us for most of the rest of our travels in the country, and a new guide and facilitator, Stella, who would take us to see Little Tsingy and Grand Tsingy.
At least, that was the plan. Our driver wasn’t there to meet us, and after a wait of 30 minutes or so Ludo got a call on his cell phone. Michel’s car had a leaky radiator, forcing him to stop every few kilometers, scrounge up some water, and refill it. He would get us to the ferry crossing while our tour operator scrambled for a new car and driver for the next few days.
At last, Michel and Stella appeared in a ’96 Toyota Land Cruiser. Ludo, Karel, and I piled in for the “short” journey to the ferry port, punctuated by stops to top off the radiator. The stops seemed to be happening more and more often, and Michel was resorting to filling his water jugs at every pond, until finally we all got out for a stretch, and watched the water dribbling out almost as fast as it was poured in. Ludo disappeared for a few minutes around a bend in the road, then returned with his hands full of zebu chips. We watched, incredulous, as Michel crumbled the chips into the radiator a little at a time, alternating with water. The leaky dribble slowed to barely a drip.
That got us the rest of the way, and soon we were on a boat, crossing the river with Stella and a new plan already in place. All credit to Remote River Expeditions, our tour organizers; our new driver and car were already en route while we ate a nice lunch in Belo Tsiribihina, and we were on our way again with only a short delay.
This entry was posted in Madagascar, Vacation 2016: East/South Africa