Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tana


We fly from Diego Suarez on Air Madagascar. One flight per day, fixed prices, an almost empty Boing 737, similar to the ones used for international flights. There is something wrong with the air in Madagascar, I cannot explain in any other way why the flight is so bumpy. At the airport, we get our bags and get in the car sent by our hotel. It is a quick, 12 km trip to Antananarivo. On a narrow busy street, our van stops in front of a little house. It is our hotel, Tana-Jacaranda, recommended by Lonely planet. Two guys are trying to pull open a little grilled door, while a convoy of military vehicles with armed soldiers hanging out passes by at high speed. They yell at us to stay in the car, after that the driver laughs, it was just an armored bank vehicle.

We have an apartment here, two rooms coming from the same hallway, five beds. The girls immediately declare this "the best hotel ever." I have no idea why. There are countless halls, stairs and hidden places, it is hard accessible, but the view from the balcony is gorgeous.

View from our hotel
They have some vegetarian dishes on the menu, they have Internet, it is a guest house, supposedly busy. The first evening is awesome, we meet three fantastic people. (Link to Maria's post)
Perfect evening


We will spend four nights here. There isn't much to do. We visit the main attractions in the city in a couple of hours, spend some time on the busy main street, eat at a recommended restaurant, buy new shoes for Maria, get her a new strap for her watch. (Link to Maria's post)
Changing bracelets

I continue to work, like I did for the last week, to put together all the links for our trip to Tsingy de Bemaraha. With a reputable tour agency it would have been $3400 for six days. I hope I can save $1000, and make it a nine day trip, by making almost all the arrangements myself. It is tough and risky, what if the car that we get promised doesn't show up in the middle of nowhere?

There is little to talk about Tana, the friendly name given to the capital of Madagascar. At almost 5 million it has little to show, even though the guidebook says that there are plenty of things happening here. I was fascinated all my life with this place, just imagine to have a country capital named after your mother. The main attraction burned down in 1995, it was the former royal palace. It's been under reconstruction for a while, officially closed. You can get in by paying a bribe to the custodian through one of the guides that hang at the entrance. They ask for 40,000, Ioan is free. I offer 10, we turn around and leave. Fafa, the guide, still wanders around. We settle for 20,000 ariari, there is the custodian and the military helper to bribe. We accept him as the guide. It was fun, even though there is not much to see on the compound. It is the highest point in Tana and the view around is gorgeous. The tent of the king , reconstructed, has a high pole where the king would climb whenever there was a visitor. The wife of the king would speak with the guest and if the king liked what he heard he would throw pebbles at his wife! They had three kings and a crazy queen who took a French lover. They converted to the Latin alphabet in 1823 choosing only 21 latin signs for their alphabet.
The beautiful side of Antananarivo

Royal hut


Fafa explains this monument, school and bathhouse in the same time

We also see trees of spiders, the ones that the Americans would buy to make bullet-proof vests. Neat. We come down the road, looking left and right, not much to see. We eat bananas and mandarins at a street corner, and we arrive at the old palace. It looks familiar, I saw it on the first evening looking for an ATM, we are two minutes from our hotel.
Trees of spiders

Detail

Catholic church in Tana




The main attraction in Antananarivo is actually not here. Ambohimanga is a day trip outside of the city to the Royal hills, a Unesco World Heritage site. I decide to postpone that for our next visit. We will be back here next week, I book a hotel close to the airport, it will be easier from there. (When we would arrive there at the end of our trip it would turn out to be still too far away and we would skip it. Yeah, we can't do it all. The guidebook description was exactly like what we saw already at the royal palace in Tana).

The last night we spend a few minutes with Jennifer and go to bed early. It's been a period of hard work on bookings, blogs and stuff. Time to get out of the cold, dark hotel rooms and see the world around. We need to get to Antsirabe somehow.
Humor me, Malagasy way

1 comment:

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