Donuts! Fresh hot donuts
Jo's is fixing a nourishing breakfast before we set out for Ambatofotsy (pronounced Am-bat-o-ffT), home of the king.
Tuning the cabosse
It only cost four euros, so I guess that's a pretty good reason why the strings are hard to accord (is that the term in English, too?).
This gecko--a different species than the ones I usually see--was twice the size of any gecko I've ever seen. Too bad there isn't another one next to it to give you an idea of its size.
A green pigeon that Jo "rescued" from the kids on
Nosy Berafia. I say "rescued" because he told us that
once Noé reached adulthood, he was going to
become a tchaki-tchaki (appetizer).
Right now, she thinks of this as a game, but give her
a few years and it'll be a chore she tries to get
out of. ;o)
Let me fix your hair
The women in Mayotte help one another fix their hair,
too. They find a bit of shade and style it in various
ways, either braids or divided into segments
topped with poofy twists.
Snug Malagasy hut
Almost all of the homes in Ambatofotsy--residence of the king--were well-kempt and decorated with plants. Paradoxically, whenever a house had some default (age, or too damaged by a storm) it was just left to rot. o.O
Boutre under construction
Ingenious coops made from layers of the banana plant's pseudostem. The part on the right of the forefront coop is the door, and the coop is closed at night to keep the hen in and the predators out.
In Mayotte, I don't think I've ever seen a woman
carrying a machete in the bush, but these
women obviously make a habit of cutting and
gathering what they need.
Unidentified, Pretty Seeds
We went for a hike in the hills behind Ambatofotsy, and once we topped this rise of pink quartz, we could see the mangrove and floodplain before us and La Grande Terre stretching out to our right as a series of hills covered in white-trunked trees.
I'm not metissé, but when I was younger, I was
"mad" at my parents for not being of mixed races. :-P
And may I just say I love having dreadlocks.
Nothing beats being able to tie your hair in a
knot (and have it stay) to get it off your neck.
Fish on a stake
If ever you are having a cookout with whole fish and
have a little time, I definitely recommend this as a
cooking method of choice. Juicy with a lightly
smoked flavor. Yum.
Dinner is served
These toothy fish (groupers) are quite toothsome.
Flavio plays the harmonica that we gifted him while
a boy (he says maybe he's 15; he's not sure) plays
the cabosse. Julien wanted to take lessons from him,
for he played quite well, but the boy was too shy.
Here are the girls who can put music video dancers to shame. Luckily the girl in the pink tshirt is screening me and I'm saved from having my participation immortalized.
The woman on the left is the princess, daughter of
the king. She's playing one of the bamboo-seed instruments while we dance.
The party never ends
Jo Black keeps trying to make us go to bed, citing the
early hour at which we must rise, but no one is
listening to him. Certainly not Mena. :P
"Don't worry. No one eats chicken for breakfast"
The Réunoinais have this same type of long-legged chicken. Even though it is supposedly difficult to cook (its meat is very tough), they all swear it's a superior fowl. :P
Malagasy man in hat
Julien sounds the departure
What a sad sound, announcing our return to Nosy Be, and the end of our Alefa journey.
It's the morning of our return, and already I feel a
touch of melancholy that the pirogue adventure is
at its end.
Caught another fish on the line. Flavio and Mena have already made a dish of the last stowaway duck, so the fish will be given to the crew when we get back to Nosy Be.
Glad our lunch is in his hands
I wouldn't trust myself to winnow the rice over the edge of the pirogue (you can see how the boat is tilting by looking at the horizon), but Flavio has no such fear.
Watch those flames
We don't want our trip to be over, but we'd rather it
came to an and by making land than by having the
boat burn under our feet.
Seeing a humpback cow and her calf made the trip back to Nosy Be more bearable.
The colors of paradise
Another boatload of travelers heading back to Nosy Be. Three Alefa pirogues stopped here for lunch. With the crews prepared the meals, we went snorkeling. It sounds cliché, but it was really like being in an aquarium.
Indoor market - crabs
Baskets of black-mud-smeared crabs. Not very
appetizing to look at.
Indoor market - veggies
*sigh* if only we had such a selection of vegetables in Mayotte. I'm speaking of quality, quantity, and price.
Julien and I bought two samosas each from this girl.
They were so delicious we had to have more,
and, naturally, since the samosas were so good,
we had to sample her beignets, both sweet and
savory. I can't remember exactly what we ate, but I
know it was good. An impromptu feast to ease the frustration of not being able to find a taxi--not that there weren't any taxis, only that they wanted to make us pay a "special" price, which meant kicking out the other passengers so we had the car to ourselves and then charging us four times the fare.
Back to Mayotte
At the airport. We had fun. Maybe we'll go back in October with Julien's mother.