Sunday 1st December 2007
Tulear – Chez Lala
13:42 (UK) / 16:42 (Madagascar)
Oh my goodness it is hot. Really hot. Tulear may be only 500km south of Tana, but it is also at sea level and thus it is 10 degrees warmer – approaching 40ºC! At least there is little humidity, making this a walk in the park compared to my trip to Goa.
The last two days have been slow. My brain and body are finding it hard to adapt; from being on full on the accelerator since August I have been forced to stop because everything is shut here! Don’t get me wrong you can buy a mango / sweet potato / bottle of THB at any time of day but banks, internet places and office are open infrequently (9 – 12, 3- 5 Monday – Friday in fact). So this sudden stopping has felt like a personal crash – especially when one has got things like saving the world on one’s mind! It is also only cool enough really to work and concentrate in the early morning and after 4pm. I start to see the point in air conditioning after years of hatred of the energy intense equipment.
Yesterday nothing really happened at all. I learnt French and took the flight from Tulear – which was only a third full – increasing my carbon footprint from 47.5kg to 95kg! I was also deeply insulted by the steward on the plane whom asked ‘where are your parents?’ I announced in a very loud voice that I was 24 and able to look after myself thank you very much.
Today I meet Garth – Blue Ventures’ field scientist – for the first time. We were able to catch up on a lot of the projects we have been working on and I was finally able to go for a walk without being heckled. Other than this excitement of the day I have been mostly been hot and frustrated at not being able to run or swim, but have been trying to walk about Tulear to get my bearings with closed ears.
I think maybe tonight I will write a book on ‘how western women get treated abroad- a country by country analysis and assessment of why?!’ Damn the media and other travellers, but whatever impression has been given the taunts are always the same what ever country I am in…Alas there is nothing I really can do- even dressing like a nun doesn’t seem to work!
Tomorrow should be a good day; meeting with our partners ADES and then picking up some money from a western union transfer. I am a little nervous as I will be on my own this time.