Avoid to drink water except the one that cames in a CLOSED mineral water bottle. Avoid also drinks with ice, vegetables , etc. At some hotels and restaurants there is no danger. It's up to you to decide...
While packing your luggage, pay attention to have a key for your hand luggage or other system that noone can open.
This happened to me in 1995. While entering the plane, I was asked to send my hand luggage to the hold. Arriving in Tana, I was not able to pick my luggage the day I arrived (Friday).
When I picked it on Monday, half of my hand luggage disappears. Well, the bag was there but half empty... My camera, my calculator, a 200 ml bottle of perfume, a silk scarf (a gift from my best friend), a walkman (a gift as well)... they left there belts, books, CDs.
Solution: do not accept to send your hand luggage in the hold unless you are sure that none can open it. If crew personnel insists, just tell the story I told you... to show that you know the danger. It seems that other persons experienced that as well.
The initial solution is, however, to have a normal size hand luggage (read instructions from air companies). Then, they shouldn't ask you to send anything in the hold. My hand luggage was too big for a hand luggage.
Do not come to Madagascar unless you make sure that you bring enough cash, travellers checks, a Visa or Mastercard. Other bank cards are useless in Madagascar. There are some ATM's, mainly in Tana, where you can get cash with your Visa. To get money with your Mastercard you will have to go inside the bank. You will have to leave your card there and come back about 3 hours later to pick up your money. Banks can only be found in the larger cities so a lot of the time, especially if you go off the beaten track where there are no banks, you are carrying around a lot of money. Vola be.
In Malagasy Vola means Money and Zebu, it is the same word.
Child prostitution is a major problem in Madagascar and we found some disturbing evidence of this.
Post cards for sale in certain hotels showing girls aged 9-10 with the words 'My name is...., I am 9 1/2 years old and I live in Tana' Picture cards of young boys in swimming trunks, again with similar wording.
Bars with large pictures of children on the walls, mainly pre-teen girls with very little clothing.
Hotel restaurants full of fat French ex-pat males slobbering over locals girls who looked no older than 12!
Walking along the beach at Ifaty we are approached by girls as young as 6, leaning back seductively whilst spreading their legs, asking 'you want picture?'
Having been out in a pirogue, coming back to land is an unpleasant experience. With the tide being out, we have to abandon the boat and wade back to shore and as the bottom is covered with sharp shells, we are recommended to keep our sandals on. We sink to the ankles in horrible sludge and my feet become stuck. One of my sandals gets left behind when withdrawing my foot and I spend ages digging with my bare hands in the awful muck to retrieve it - Amjad breaks his flip flops and has to discard them and risk walking barefoot. He cuts his soles badly.
The sandy track is a hazard to any vehicles other than ox carts, and we get stuck in the dunes, having to get out and push. On one side of the path is the sea, the other the famous ‘spiny forest’. Small ponds give off an unpleasant aroma of stagnant water. Goats present another risk, they have no road-sense whatsoever and wander aimlessly as they please, often straight out in front of the bus.
Allow plenty of time for this journey.
Road conditions vary considerably, from smooth, tarmac’ed highways, to rutted tracks more akin to dried-up river beds. These turn into a muddy quagmire when wet, and can become impassable in places. We are very lucky when leaving Ranomafana – usually they have to allocate several hours extra travelling time to allow for being towed out of sludge holes by a lorry. When we are there, it has been dry for several days and the conditions are favourable.
Walking down the street in Tana we were approached by an old and scruffy beggar holding out his hat for David to drop a few coins in. Having come across this scam before, we were ready for him when he covered David's bum bag with the hat and tried to undo the zipper with the other hand. Needless to say, he didn't get anything - other than a hard shove and some harsh words in French.
Most people of Madagscar do not speak English! I had some problems to remember the little French I had learned 25 years ago at school. But French is the language you get around with. And when people discover, that you speak a few words French, they just happily talk to you.
You need to know at least the number from 1 to 100 in French, so that you can bargain.
A chapter in one of my pages about taking pictures in Mada.
+++ Zébus, Lemurs, Ravinala
Yes, Zébus, Lemurs, Ravinala and not that much pictures of humans neither homes. In my previous hp, I said that pictures of humans are not that usual here since Malagasy are not used to that. Jennifer (craic) asked me why and here was the copy-paste of my answer:
Original Message from Norali
Received 2003-06-22 03:55:10.0
> How are you? You are entering winter, no? A response to your question on my pages. You want to know why Malagasy people are not used to display personal pictures?
> A traditional behaviour of reserve (not coldness but what is said to be "pudeur" in French. My Harraps dico says "modesty"). Though, oddly enough, when dropping a visit to Malagasy friends for the first time, they (we) use to show photo albums. If your hostess doesn't show, visitor would ask anyway. Way paradoxical!
In some regions of Mada, taking picture of humans is seeing as "stealing the person's soul" (?). Personnally, I don't fit to that though I just don't take picture of Malagasy people except friends. When visiting areas (esp. those that are of different customs ), I just limit myself in taking pictures of landscape, houses (by far) and animals and plants...
I hope this makes it clear... Culture! Always amazing! Thanks for dropping by!
N-L " +++
[Upd. May 2004: More explanation: if many Malagasy locals in urban areas & touristic places would agree, for FREE, to be taken in picture, it is not always the case in remote areas. The tip was written regarding this late part.]
You will see, policemen in Madagascar use to check cars (they would "verify" if the driver has all its papers, meets all administrative, technical requirements to drive properly...).
Vazaha (white men) and wealthy locals seem to be interesting cases for them :-). They would always nit-pick in order to justify a fine (even for a missing side mirror and for that you explain you already ordered a replacement and that replacement is coming very soon) . The "strangest" thing is that they would ask you to pay cash otherwise they would keep your driving license.
Solution that works well: Rather than discuss about the fine (well, rather mean "price"), ask for a written cash receipt (before paying, please, otherwise it won't work *LOL*) and their requirement would just vanish in thin air...
They know that if a fine is justified (or say, applicable), you could pay cash or at a police office. By asking for the receipt, you just put a pressure on them... Show that you know the rules... The threaten for them is that you would be able to report & show the receipt to their superiors as well (even if you don't intend to do so :-) ... Right?
I know it worked since my Dad did that & it went smoothing. :)
Clouds of locusts were swarming over Madagascar, destroying crops.....
At times, I found myself in the middle of a cloud. Locusts are really everywhere at such a moment, so if you are scared of insects, you might want to travel around the swarms, in so far as possible.
Madagascar is one of the worlds top conservation priorities. Since the arrival of the first people (2500 yrs ago) more than 75% of the original forests (of all kinds) have been destroyed. Forests that are/were the home of a unique flora and fauna. All M's mammalspecies, 225 of its 257 (known) species of reptiles and almost 80% of the plants are to be found nowhere else in the world!
Check out T e Rainforest site and let's do something now!
Make sure you have proof of vaccination against Cholera. If not, the health officials will make you take antibiotic and you don't want that.In Holland you can go to the Travel Health Centre (GGD) and they will give you a very official stamp in you booklet. Just do it!
Watch out for Zebu carts....
I found this flat chameleon on the 'mainstreet' in Morondava. Fascinating how it still has all its characteristics. I thought it would be a great souvenir, so I picked it up.Some local 'working girls' were completely puzzeled. 'Il est mort, le Chameleon' (he is dead) they said. Well, yes, that was obvious...
It is now hanging on the wall at home displayed on the original red earth of Madagascar. Strange people these Vazaha
Résidence Lapasoa Isoraka BP 3650 Antananarivo Tél :22 611 40. 180.000 FMG Beautiful colonial...more
Le Royal Pallisandre is a very good quality hotel in the heart of the city. The rooms and public...more
Lot 66 B Antanetibe Ivato, Antananarivo, 105, Madagascar
Good for: Solo
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