This morning en route to Antsirabe we visit the small town of Ambatolampy and its aluminum pot factory for a glimpse into Malagasy industry. One craftsman can make B as many as 20 of these robust pots per day! Have lunch at the Rendez-vous des Pêcheurs restaurant and then continue to Antsirabe. Check in at the lodge, a short distance from the town center, then enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at Couleur Café.
OK. What this doesn’t say are two things:
the first you have probably already guessed. The roads were paved but barely two vehicles wide which makes for some interesting and challenging driving. Our small motor bus is well maintained but no where near new. The luggage rides in a rack on the top, under a tarp. I am just thinking Africa and am glad for the tarp. The driver or assistant stays with the vehicle at all times.
Driving out of Tana, we traveled along the river for several hours. The three main activities there are clothes washing, small dugout type canoe fishing and brick making.
Our stop at the above aluminum pot factory was both enlightening and appalling. The aluminum comes completely from recycling various containers, This part is good. The scary part? Completely manual labor fueled by charcoal conducted by men in shorts, t-shirts and bare feet as they shred, melt down and pour molten aluminum. Never mind goggles or hearing protection from the grinding noise. None of us noticed any significant burns which means either the men are good and careful or that an injury loses one the job.
Lunch was at a local restaurant with the ubiquitous rice + (meaning either chicken or zebu = the local species of oxen).
What followed was another several hours in the bus before we arrived at our overnight break. I skipped dinner, just wasn’t hungry. Of side note, the usual stomach upsets are starting to invade the group. So far I haven’t been blessed.