Today, 5 days after my arrival, I set out for a first day-long ‘test ride’ on Malagassy soil. From Toamasina I cycled south on Route Nationale 2. The road was paved and in good condition. The (small) portion I cycled has moderate climbs. The countryside left and right is dominated by bushland and young forest. The central mountains can be seen on the west, The Canal des Pangalanes and the Indian Ocean on the east. The Canal des Pangalanes is a series of French-made canals linking natural lakes and rivers along the east coast of Madagascar, stretching south from Toamasina for more than 600km.
Every couple hundred meters there were people riding their bikes or walking on the road. Many greeted with a bonjour or salam(a) or salut and a smile. Many other answered when I said bonjour. One guy shouted bon voyage!.
I finally found a place with no people around and used the stove to actually cook something for the first time.
Right after the village of Ampasimadinika I stopped and returned to Toamasina on the same route.