Some other village along the road – Toamasina

Another long day.

The night was difficult due to mosquitoes.

We left the hotely early and continued the drive towards Toamasina.

Eventually we arrived that the end of the road, that is, at the estuary of the river Marimbona opposite Soanierana Ivongo. That was as far as the 4WD would go because there were no car ferries here. Everything was unloaded from the car and we boarded long and narrow steel boats (which, by the way, were pretty much overloaded). I figured that I would have to find a new ride in Soanierana Ivongo. That, of course was unfortunate for me. I tried to explain my situation to the driver: I had, with my last money and to the best of my knowledge, purchased a through-ticket all the way to Toamasina. To my surprise he gave me 3000 Ariary (or was it 5000? Memory fails me there) which, according to him, would cover my fare from Soanierana to Toamasina in another taxi-brousse.

I even found one that charged less, so that I was worth 1000 Ariary all of a sudden!

Though my luck wasn’t to last long. After a while we stopped at the end of a long queue of taxi-brousse. Everyone started unloading their stuff again and walked to the front of the queue, and so did I. There, at the bank of a river, the last bits of a new pontoon bridge were put in place. It was the same river which I had crossed six days before over the makeshift swimming bridge. When the last gap between the new pontoons that the bank was traversable I crossed the river with everyone else and waited for my taxi-brousse to cross as well… and waited. And waited. The sun was setting.

I spotted the driver on this side of the bank, to my surprise without his car. He solved the mystery: his trip ended here, I was supposed to find another ride. That, again, proved difficult, because my 1000 Ariary didn’t buy me a ticket. The guy was helpful, though, and helped my to persuade another driver to take me for the last money I had. This time to Toamasina for real.

The only nuisance on this last bit of the journey was a tipsy guy sitting next to me, who started harassing me for my lack of French and I don’t know what else, when I didn’t want to pay him the fare. He didn’t get violent but it felt like he was close. Maybe it was luck that I didn’t understand him.

I arrived at Heinz’s place exhausted but in one piece.

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