Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Leeches and Lemurs in Madagascar

I walked into the room and wasn’t too surprised at how modest the accommodations were with two small single beds and well-worn blankets.  The bathroom consisted of a partial wall with a door of draped fabric.  There was actually running water, which was great, as we had just had an arduous journey through miles and miles pot-marked roads. I swear there isn’t a full kilometer of roadway in Madagascar that without a hazard.

Sitting on the porch of the lodge for sundowners we realized we were the only guests at the resort. Political upheavals and chaos were keeping tourists at bay. The locals sat politely and stared as us fascinated by three North American women.

The food was accommodating and much to our surprise three Malagasy musicians appeared to play a kabosy, a valihas and a sodina.  The music was intoxicating. 

The next morning, with the sun barely up, we were awakened by with the eerie calls of Indri echoing
through the rainforest.  Our guide met us for a very sloggy and wet walk through the dripping trees and vines. Ever once in a while 
we would see a sifaka jumping from three to tree and we would stop, spellbound.  At one point we looked at the back of Scout's pant leg and saw that she was bleeding.  We discovered that tiny leeches had dropped off leaves near the trail and landed on our shoes and legs.  

Nasty little creatures but I guess it could have been worse. Like Humphrey Bogart pulling the “African Queen” through the swamps only to know that by the end of the day he would be covered by monster leeches. I shutter to think.

No wonder our guide wore Wellingtons with his pant legs tucked in - to ward off the leeches.  Wish someone would have warned us.

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