Leaving Réunion

Got up around 8.45am. Some of the folks in the house had already left at ~7am to go to the beach, surfing.

Put my bike together, said goodbye to Nils and left around 10am for Le Port. The road was quite hilly and the traffic there is pretty heavy. I soon realized I had forgotten a couple of things: my spare spokes and my bike lock, applying sun screen, having breakfast, taking some drinking water. Decided not to turn around but to try and call Nils from Le Port. Big mistake.

I mostly concentrated on road and traffic and didn’t see much of Réunion’s countryside or the villages I passed through. Eventually reached Le Port and easily found the SCOAM office where I had to fetch my ticket to Toamasina (aka Tamatave), Madagascar before 12pm.

Check-in was scheduled for 3.30pm. Tried to call Nils from my mobile. Friends of Nils’, Nico and Christiane, wanted to go to St Denis around 11am, and with some luck they’d not left yet and could drop by in Le Port. However, the ‘International Travel SIM card’ (SIM4Travel) I’d bought on the plane to South Africa didn’t work on Réunion. Bought a phone card at a post office but the public phones outside didn’t like my dialing. By that time I’d spent a couple of hours in Le Port and going back to Trois Bassins wasn’t an option anymore.

So I cycled to the eastern harbour where my ship was due to depart and stopped at the customs/check-in building. A couple of people were already waiting there. Among them a guy with wild beard and wild curly hair. He had a massive amount of luggage and came over to ask whether bike and backpack were my only baggage. I agreed to take one of his bags through check-in (but not through customs). More people asked if I could help them get stuff through check-in.

A French-Canadian couple arrived and we chatted a bit. They were going to Madagascar for the first time, too, and wanted to do some hiking and climbing over there.

Managed to get a phone from one of the other waiting passengers and tried to call Nils again. It worked but he didn’t answer. So I gave up on lock and spokes.

Check-in and clearing customs was easy. Got a cabin that I had to share with a Malagassy guy. He didn’t speak English and generally didn’t seem to be interested in conversation. Spent time on deck and in the lounge, had dinner, etc. Chatted with some of the other passengers, but all in all it was quite a boring afternoon and night.


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