Coconut Milkshakes and Lemurs for Sale

I am writing this entry super quickly while I have some internet access at the Peace Corps house in Tana (the capital). The connection is slow because all of the trainees are battling for connectivity so that we can get our fill of Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, etc. I just wanted to write a little bit about the tech trip that I just got back from with the other health trainees. During the trip we were able to meet with various health NGOs, visit health clinics, and get a better understanding of public health efforts/education in Madagascar. We also got to chill on the beach. Just sayin’.

We left the Peace Corps Training Center early on Tuesday morning and had quite an epic and nauseating eight hour drive to Tamatave which is on the East Coast of Madagascar. When we arrived Tovo, the guy in charge of the health trainees, approached our window and said in his hilariously monotone voice, “Welcome to Tamatave…we are lost…and my phone is dying.” We perhaps should have been slightly alarmed but we were too amused by his dry delivery of the news. It all worked out though and we found our hotel shortly thereafter. So the main thing I will remember about Tamatave is that they have the most excellent coconut ice cream and milkshakes. It was like heaven in a glass. We didn’t stay long in Tamatave though because it is a “red zone” due to the presence of organized crime there.

After Tamatave we drove to Foulpointe which literally was like something out of a movie. Our “hotel” for the night was a group of huts right along the beach. It isn’t a great idea to swim along the coast of Madagascar in general because there are lots of sharks. These sharks apparently have quite a taste for “vazaha” (foreigners) who go swimming because they don’t know any better. However, we were able to swim at Foulpointe because there is a coral reef surrounding the area which keeps out the scarier sea life. The only bad thing about the area was that it does attract tourists so everywhere we turned there was someone trying to sell us something (at a ridiculous price too). One vendor was more memorable than the others however because he was selling dwarf mouse lemurs. Yes, you read that correctly. Dwarf. Mouse. Lemurs. For the ridiculously low price of 40,000 Ariary or about $20 US. Now before you start lecturing me on how awful it is that they are selling an endangered species, I didn’t actually buy one and I think it is tragically awful as well. But I couldn’t resist taking a picture and I won’t deny that I secretly yearn for a little mouse lemur of my very own.

Today we made the long trek back to Tana and as I said, we are all enjoying having internet access for the first time since arriving here a month ago. Tomorrow we will be splitting up into smaller groups to go on “Demyst”, which is where we stay with current volunteers for a few days to get a better idea of what the daily life of a PCV is like. When we get back to the training center on Tuesday we will probably all collapse from exhaustion. Story of our lives.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Pasha
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 18:36:14

    Okay so! I did some research and only SOME species of mouse lemur (it’s a genus) are actually endangered. So as long as we convince ourselves it’s not one of those, we could totally get ourselves a pet.


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