Monday, November 19, 2012

The Ocean (Finally!!)


So after my Halloween in Tana, a few volunteers and I decided to make the trek out to Tamatave and Foulpointe, the port town and beach town closest to Tana on the Indian Ocean.  The ride from Tana to Tamatave is about 8 hours, so we spent the day sleeping in a car and watching the scenery change suddenly from brown mountains to green jungle.  We arrive in Tamatave, and I caught my first glimpse of the ocean since arriving on this island.  There isn’t really a beach in Tamatave, so we planned to stay the night there and head the next day to Foulpointe, a small popular Malagasy vacation destination. 

I was absolutely elated and bouncing in my seat to get to Foulpointe and finally take deep ocean air breaths.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the mountains and the town, but have always had a special place in my heart reserved for the ocean.  When I lived in Redondo Beach, CA for 3 months I went to the ocean nearly every day.  I could look at it forever.  We arrive at the beach and check in to our bungalow about 50 feet from the water (heaven).  We immediately put on our suits to go bask in the cool water and hot sun.  We swim for a while, and then lounge on beach chairs we rent and peruse the sellers walking around with food, beer, and souvenirs.

We didn’t arrive to Foulpointe until about 2 in the afternoon, even though we had tried to arrive by noon.  The taxi-brousse in Tamatave needed gas before we left and the first 3 or so stations we drove to were out.  We finally found some an hour and a half after we thought we would be leaving.  My friend Jessie, an education volunteer, and I spent the 2 hour drive concocting different scenarios that we could tell Peace Corps so we could stay at the beach.  Our favorite was an elaborate scheme involving a zombie apocalypse, which became the theme for the rest of the weekend.  We had decided we wanted to tell our Malagasy security officer that there was a zombie apocalypse and we had to stay in Foulpointe, but we thought with the language barrier that he would just text that to the rest of the volunteers and staff in country.  Also tempting just for laughs, but we ultimately decided against it.

So anyway, we arrived at 2 pm and then had about 4 hours of beautiful beach sun.  Then we continued the evening with an amazing seafood dinner and beach themed cocktails.  It was shaping up to be a wonderfully cliché beach vacay.

I woke up at 6 am the next day to the sound of rain pounding on the roof of our bungalow.  The rain continued the rest of the morning, so around 10 we decided to pack up and head back to Tamatave, where are things to do other than the beach.  Also the Tamatave region had their VAC meeting in Tamatave that day, so we could go meet up with a bunch of other volunteers.  But, we had to finish our beach bucket list, so we drank coconut milk out of freshly cracked coconuts (really hard without a straw) before heading back.  The rain continued the rest of the day, so we were really gald we went back to Tamatave, even though we were sad to leave the beach.

Tamatave is big enough that there are quite a few food options, as well as a decent grocery store and some clubs to go dancing.  They also still have fresh seafood.  So we had a pretty darn good time in spite of the rain, making my beach vacation still a win.

I reluctantly headed back to Tana, with a jar of ocean water and sand in my bag, and back to the dry mountains.  Although we have started to get some rain again.  I am looking forward to the emerald green island I arrived on back in March.  I am also looking forward to getting back to the beach in December J



  1. It's amazing how, in a place that most Americans would sadly likely regard as third world, or second world, or just dirty and unattractive, when reading your blog it seems that time and understanding have allowed you to crave out a pretty nice life.

    It's very reassuring, and a good example for those of us back home to look for the little things we can appreciate that make life nice.


  2. Definitely third world, but is a gem of its own :)