We got up fairly early to get ready for our tour and there was a knock on the door – our guide had sent a note that we should leave at 7:00 to avoid traffic! We hurried up and packed and had a quick breakfast and were on the road with Ravo by 7:30 – but a bit late.
Traffic was horrific. We spent maybe three hours in town, mostly stopped. There were street vendors who walked between the stalled vehicles selling all sorts of foods. We were being passed by cargo rickshaws and zebu wagons who went up on the sidewalks. Many curious children and young people stared at us as we sat there. Lots of people were sweeping the streets.
Traffic finally broke and we headed out of town to a lemur park – there were 50 – 75 school children there. The park seemed well maintained and as we walked through we saw quite a few lemurs – they stick around because they feed then – though some just leave.
We ran into several Sephicas and some bamboo lemurs, plus a large group of black and whites. We wandered around a bit – working farm across the river. We say more tortoises and even some young – but the lemurs were stealing their food! One of the workers came around a corner with six or seven lemurs following – he had their food!
After a bit we saw some marmot lemurs as well as more brown bamboo lemurs, then a large troop of ring tailed – then back to the van. We stopped on the way back and got some corn from a road side stand, which was chewy and not as sweet as what we’re used to. Then to a hotel for lunch. I got a weird cheesy sandwich – quite unusual.
Then off to the Princesses’ palace – which burned down in the 1990s. It is situated on the highest point in town and the views were quite spectacular all around! We found out about the kings and queens, and various alliances (British then French conquest). Some very interesting structures and customs (right food first into a building for luck). We visited the church in the complex as well. As we left we were mobbed by hawkers – I bought a musical instrument for 25,000 and later found it at the store for 9,000. Sigh.
Then we were taken to a big souvenir complex and bought quite a few things – seemed to be quite good quality. Ravo then dropped us at our hotel.
For dinner we stopped in at an Italian place and got a pizza – it wasn’t too great. Then back to the hotel for some final packing before bed.