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...

Monday, July 30, 2012

You Should Visit Kruger While You're Young


When I say 'young,' I'm assuming the following things:

- You have the ability to sit in a car for an entire day, with set rest stops where you can get out and stretch your legs. (Assume three hours, max, between rest stops)

You may want to cry when you see the car in the morning.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tsingy and Baobabs

Road, what does it mean? “A wide way leading from one place to another, especially one with a specially prepared surface that vehicles can use” says the dictionary. I like that part with specially prepared surface. Here is missing. We have almost 5 hours to travel to the “Parc National de Madagascar, Tsingy de Bemaraha”. The wide way is just one lane that resembles red mountains and valleys at a smaller scale. On the sides there are walls of vegetation, grass, or bushes, or young eucalyptus trees (they grow rapidly, when they are five years old, they cut them for charcoal, and from the stumps will grow new shoots). If two cars meet, one will squish itself on the side and the other will pass.

It feels like we’re training to become astronauts or we have a particular contest for fitness. In order to keep our heads not bobbing we need to move our bodies, and soon enough we feel all our muscles. After one hour we take a break, I’m so nauseous. The only relief comes when we’re passing small bridges, when all four wheels are on the same level, and for an instant we glide. It’s briefness makes it more precious. At some point there are children shoveling dust from the sides back in the holes. They are repairing the road. But every passing car, and every gust of wind sends in the air half of their work. It doesn’t matter, they wave happily.

At the entrance of a village, under a shade tree, women and children are gathered. Three women, long poles in their arms, are taking turns in pounding them in a tall tub. They are “grinding” rice. From their looks this work is back breaking. They don’t have the money to buy a machine to grind it or to pay for the electricity that it would consume.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


In 2009, National Geographics ran an article about a strange, unique place at the end of the world, Tsingy de Bemaraha. It took the reporters several days to reach it and they described countless dangers, including the high risk of an accident. With medical help days away, slipping on one of the sharp rock needles could have cut an artery and kill the photographer. No way we would make it there, I thought, but Ileana Ruxandra and Ioan had other ideas. We designed our whole trip to Madagascar to allow us to reach the tsingys and here is how we managed to get there.
Grand Tsyngy, Tsingy de Bemaraha

Friday, July 20, 2012

Problems in Madagascar


When we tell people we're going to Madagascar (or, later, have been to Madagascar), their first reaction is "Whoa! That's so awesome!"

And it is awesome. But beyond that, it's really hard to go to Madagascar. Don't get me wrong. It's a beautiful country. There are amazing animals— lemurs, for example, are only found in Madagascar, and there are x73 species. And chameleons are everywhere. Not to mention snakes, spiders (there is a spider here that is huge, completely non-poisonous, and whose silk is used for making Kevlar vests), and a variety of flowers and butterflies.
As well as lemurs. Everywhere.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gently Down The Stream


“I want to go to that place with rocks sharp like a knife!” Mihai draws a blank. He stares at me like I’m an alien. I can’t say how many times he asked me what I want to see or do, never giving a straight answer, and now that we are in Madagascar I tell him about a place that I read several years ago in National Geographic’s magazine. Looking for it, we found that it is called Tsingy de Bemaraha (tszeen-ghee deh bem-ah-rah-ha), it is in the west of the country and to get there it would require several days and a 4WD. Unfazed by the difficulties and the price I claim almost two weeks from our time, not to mention the strain on our bodies and nerves.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bitter Sweet

We left the idyllic island of Nosy Be to see the mainland. The Indian taxi drivers have a lot to learn from the Malagasy ones. The moment that we stepped out of the boat they stretched their hands to take our bags. We carried them on our backs. They started talking in French, English, Italian. Mihai told us not to speak with them, and hearing our language, they tried to figure out where we were coming from. Spain? 

Carts pulled by zebus, a normal way of life.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


We've been on the road for 267 days and today was the first time that I gave something to a begging child. I bought fresh bread and at the exit of the boulangerie, an almost naked 5 year old stretched his dirty hand. He got some fresh bread. How strange.
Beautiful Antsirabe...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012



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.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The 200 Day Mark


We've been on the road for two hundred days! Since last time I wrote a collection of anecdotes, I think it's a great idea to write another. Excuse the lateness; I've been bad at keeping up with blog posts, as you may have noticed.

Let's recapitulate where we've been since Hong Kong.

 We've been in:

New Zealand
Australia (though I won't write anything about here in this post)

The trouble is that

Friday, July 6, 2012

This Is Life

After 15-20 minutes in a speed boat, we are headed toward a beautiful beach. For a moment we think that we are there, but we realize that only a couple of children get down, maybe they just go to school, this is not our stop. We are headed toward the proper island of Madagascar, the little port of Ankify, where we are booked through an agency on a 4WD Nissan Patrol toward Diego Suarez. After another quick stop, we finally make it and we have to brace for it.
Ankify, loading place for the taxi brousses that travel the country