This day we sadly said goodbye to our guides and new found friends; Tiana and Lova. We highly recommend them for anyone who plans on visiting Madagascar shores and wishes to secure the services of a local for some inside knowledge. We wish them all the best in their endeavors to secure their “Masters in International Business” in the US and hope to see them drop by Australia at some point so we can play historian, translator and Navman.
Memories of Sunday, July 15 were full of airports, transfers and the customary waiting for the schedule to suit the supplier rather than the buyer (Air Mauritius will be on its nose if a competitor ever enters its small air space). Just as well then for the catchup with Haja and his wife, Harotiana at Antananirivo during our 3hour layover. This couple are great value and will go along way in life.
They had been running short on sleep for the last two nights running errands in preparation for their departure to Utah, USA on a 3year study trip. They were our original contacts courtesy of the altruistic Ami Vitale, but because of preparations for their trip were unable to escort us around Madagascar and instead put us in touch with Tiana and Lova. They still however found time to pick us up at Tana airport, take the scenic route to city for photo purposes, eat lunch and return us to the airport, not leaving until we were ready to pass through customs. Incredible.
While traveling into Tana we approached some rugby fields with the customary mustard, orange dirt forming temporary clouds around the players as they stomped their boot studs into the ground. We pulled into the road shoulder and Haja accompanied me to take shots of the sporting carnival.
My presence was quickly communicated around the grounds amongst the pre-sixteen year old crowd. Soon portraits took precedence over action shots – mostly because there wasn’t a choice. For a brief moment it felt like some kind of surreal scene from “Lord of the Flies”.
The kids here get such an infectious kick out of seeing their image on the camera’s LCD screen it was hard determining who would give up first: the kids, me, or the memory card. Knowing the enthusiasm of both the kids and I, the card was a short priced favourite.
The only problem with photographing this many excited kids was everytime an image was shown to them they behaved like pups at feeding time and clambered all over the camera and I. The crouching approach was quickly adjusted to a standing position for image playback. An unforeseen side-effect of this crowding behaviour and hands on access to the camera were two increasingly itchy eyes that quickly elevated to conjunctivitis symptoms.
Tomorrow night our final post from travels abroad on the Trumanistic cleanliness of Mauritius.