As we neared Tana once again, the trees disappeared and the towns grew larger and more numerous. In between, we’d pass through the “Land of Toy Trucks,” followed by the “Kingdom of Small Musical Instruments.” That is, all the roadside stalls would feature the same merchandise for a long time, then suddenly switch to something else that everyone was selling. Perhaps we were seeing the booty salvaged from some shipwrecked freighter, with the shipping containers distributed at random, one per region.
Traffic in Tana was insane, with the mayhem compounded by a citywide power outage. The outage was not due to any physical problem; the region’s limited power supply was being diverted to some industrial use, we were told, that was lining the pockets of politicians. At last, Michel dropped us off at a hotel (which had its own generator) near the airport. We left most of our luggage in the Rhinoceros, in Michel’s care. In the morning, the hotel shuttle would take us to the airport for our three-day excursion to Île St. Marie.
There are airports scattered around the country, and considering how bad the roads are—it sometimes took all day to drive a hundred kilometers—it sure seems appealing to fly from highlight to highlight. Unfortunately, the only carrier is Air Madagascar, and they are notoriously, horrendously, ridiculously unreliable. Indeed, in the few hours that we waited at the hotel, the airline announced the flight would leave an hour earlier than scheduled, was cancelled altogether, but no, never mind, it would be leaving on time after all. In the end, we lifted off two hours late and arrived at our gorgeous beachfront cabin without any difficulties.
There were humpback whales in the channel, so we took the opportunity to go on a whale watching excursion. Otherwise, we just relaxed.This entry was posted in Madagascar, Vacation 2016: East/South Africa
2 thoughts on “Shipwreck Economics”
A notoriously unreliable airline, eh? I’d think twice about flying with them.
Yes, well, when you need to get from a land-locked city to another island, and there’s only one airline, you don’t have much choice. Our return journey, via canal boats, hydrofoil, buses, taxis, and 4×4, took over 30 hours, and it was no picnic. We tell that tale in “From Paradise to Perdition (and Back Again).”