Toliara

So we were supposed to be leaving today at 6am to catch a flight back to Antananarivo. Last night, the flight schedule changed, so the new plan was to leave at 10am.

We were told to be ready for 6am anyway, just incase the schedule changed again. It didn’t.

So we enjoyed a final morning lazing around. I was sitting outside our hut room and a mango woman walked down the beach – perfect timing for breakfast. I bought a few mangos at 200 ariary each (4p!!!!). At 10am we were loaded into jeeps and began the dusty, bumpy road back to Toliara city and the airport.

There were buses travelling along the road too (called taxi-brousse…bush taxis). They were more like trucks, completely full of people and fully loaded – roof included – with mattresses, chickens, bags of rice, charcoal, bikes and anything else that could be strapped on!

The airport was pretty basic. Luggage destination tags were even hand written! There were two small souvenir stands and a mini cafe. Security was a woman asking ‘do you have any of these things in your bag’ (the woman points to photos of guns, car batteries and randomly wooden and metal souvenirs). You say no. And that’s the end of that!

We were in a small propellor plane. And annoyingly weren’t going straight to Antananarivo. We were going to Fort Dauphin first. I had no idea where that was. After the 1 hour flight, we were coming into land over some pretty beaches. We had started off in Toliara – on the West coast. I looked up where we now were.

In the east coast, basically at the southern point of the country!!!! Even further away from Antananarivo! What a joke.

As we got off the plane, we were handed transit cards. Which were totally pointless. We went through another round of security. And if you had purchased any wooden or metal souvenirs in the previous airport, these were now confiscated. And another 2 hour flight. Wow.

At 5.30pm, we finally arrived in Antananarivo airport. Aside from my 3 mangos, I’ve not eaten all day. Nor had anything to drink. I was starving and dehydrated.

After meeting back up with our bus again (the same one, and same driver!! They had spent the last 2 days driving back from Ifaty), luckily we stopped in a petrol station to buy supplies. Water, salt and vinegar crisps, and Oreos. Amazing! The city was busy, so many people still milling around at 6pm in the evening.

There was a haze over the entire city – lots of forest burning on the east coast causing all the dusty smoke. When I was first here, I felt the city was very rural. Now returning, it seems a lot busier and more built up than the rest of the country! We are staying again back at the hotel we first started at.

Which compared to where we have been staying for the past weeks, now seems fairly fancy!

We dumped our bags and headed straight out to dinner. We went to a restaurant just around the corner, which seemed rather fancy. They didn’t have anything vegetarian on the menu, but the woman said they could make up something for me. When the food arrived, I just had a plate of rice. Which whilst being incredibly dull, is basically what I’ve had all trip. So I just accepted that my last dinner was going to be equally rubbish.

But then 20 minutes later, a huge plate of vegetables arrived! Different vegetables – alongside the usual carrots and green beans were mushrooms, bok choi and peanuts! Wow! But what I still find ridiculous is that my food always ends up being the most expensive, despite being the most simple. It cost £3.

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