can't do photos sadly, as the connections are a bit slow here. We left Ambosita at 6AM, well, we got on the taxi brousse at 6, they like to wait untill the buss is full before they leave, so we left at 8:45 in the end, which gave the local french speaking old man time to chat me up, ask for us to give him our baseball caps and tell us that to get to Toliara we had to change busses at Fiananrostra, and get a night bus taking 12 hours, going through the desert plains with no trees...we were sceptical, as we'd not really read the guide book, and thought he was winding us up.
He wasn't wrong, and so we got to Fiananrostrqa (spelt wrong, but it's on the map!)and booked us onto a taxi brousse to toliara, or tulear as the french say. We hung out in a few french restaurants and bars, bought some bananna fritters on the street, caused uproar in the bank when we all 3 of us took out great wads of cash (1 euro = 2,500 ariary !) and boarded the brousse at about 8 - they told us they were leaving at 6 - but we are getting used to the place now, so the wait was fine.
The journey was pretty amazing- there was a full moon, so we were able to see the landscape change from the mountains and terraced valleys in the north to the flat savannah "desert" of the south. there were the odd stop offs to pee in the buses and stretch our legs, and we passed through spikey plant brush arriving in Tulear at about 5 am. on the 7th Nov.
we'd booked the hotel the day before, so we waited around for the rooms to be free, and explored the town. During the day it became clear who was who and I met up with all the other members of the team. there are 10 of us Volunteers, but it seems that only Kelly, Tristan and I are the ones who came overland, everyone else flew to Tulear. Feeling well accustomed to the place now, and really relaxed. the pace of life is so slow here - it's amazing.It's '40° in the shade, so you can't really move that fast!
i'm thinking about frosty Europe - and er, nope, not missing it much!
We are leaving in the morning on Nov 9th in a sail boat "boutre" from Tulear, for a 24 ride to Andavadoaka, where the site for the expedition is based.Hopingto see some hump back whales en route. I'll be there for 6 weeks, so no more journal - but i'll be back here by Christmas and I'll have lots to tell you then!
enjoy the festive season. I'll keep my eyes on the fish, coral and palm trees,