Some village in the jungle – Mananara – Some other village along the road

Left rather late, 9ish or later.

I felt better than yesterday and managed to cycle on. The ‘road’ was still very bad. I arrived in Mananara around midday, I think. For some reason that is difficult to reconstruct in hindsight (I’m writing this quite a bit later), I felt that I didn’t have enough cash to keep on travelling across the Masoala peninsula ahead. There were, supposedly, no banks in the towns ahead (Maroantsetra being the only one of significant size). I think my physical condition played a big part in the decision to return to Toamasina. A taxi-brousse (bush taxi, basically a 4WD) was the only option. I spent pretty much all of my last cash on a seat in the one leaving this afternoon.

My seat turned out to be on top of bags of cloves in the cargo area of the 4WD, which I shared with 9 or so other passengers. The passenger seat in the front was occupied by an elder gentleman. My bike was strapped to the roof. The trip back turned out to be much longer than expected. Of course, the car couldn’t race over that ‘road’ either; the same one I had come up on. By nightfall we stopped in a village and everyone stepped into what turned out to be a hotely, a little restaurant. The last bits of cash bought me some dinner. At that point I didn’t know whether we’d continue the drive, or what was going to happen. When the driver started drinking some spirit I hoped we’d stay.

Soon after dinner mattresses were brought in. Bast or raffia ones for most of the guests, and a foam one for me and the elder gentleman from the passenger seat, which we shared.

At that time I didn’t know the village’s name, and still don’t know it at the time of writing this.

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