Monday, October 29, 2007

Anakao, and the End

The final stop on my trip before heading back to Antananarivo was Anakao. South of Tulear and on the west coast of Madagascar, Anakao is a nice place to relax if you aren't desperate to get off the island. I was told there was great snorkeling here - but this was not true. The coral is almost all dead and you're lucky to see a dozen fish.

I took a boat out to Nosy Ve, where I saw the endangered red-tailed tropic birds. They had chicks in the bushes - big fluffy black and white chicks. When the parents fed them, the chicks were very loud. The parents circled overhead, and it appeared they were pure white birds with yellow beaks and a red straw coming out of their tails. Apparently the birds only breed on this one island - therefore no surprise they are in trouble. Although the island is "protected" in reality it is not. There are fisherman on the island beaches. On the day I was there I saw at least 10 little boats, their owners laying in the sand or walking on the beach. One man was naked except for a T-shirt that did not cover his equipment. There were numerous piles of human excrement on the beach. There was a lot of trash, plastic, etc. strewn on the island. And, there was a domestic chicken.

How the chicken got there I don't know. There are some fire pits, so perhaps a fisherman brought the chicken for lunch and it got away. It seemed very thirsty, so I filled my snorkel mask with water three times and the chicken drank its fill. I knew it would probably be killed soon, but at least I could provide some comfort in the interim.

It was hard to enjoy snorkeling thinking about all the human excrement a few feet away on the beach...and frankly the only thing to see was a lot of sea urchins with very sharp spikes that need to be avoided at all costs.

I ate practically nothing here, and was horrified to see an enormous chunk of octopus leg on my guide's plate across the table. The vegetarian menu was rice, carrots and beans over and over again.

I rigged a mosquito net in my bungalow here that took engineering feats. I had to find a way to get a rope over a beam way too tall to reach and then devise a hook. I managed it after many tries and using some curtain rods and weights and a coat hanger.

Here I met two ENORMOUS hissing cockroaches and some giant nocturnal ants. The staff at the hotel tried to talk me out of my shoes, literally. By this point in the trip I wasn't surprised the "shower" was a bucket of salty water that I had to set in the sun to warm enough to use. I wanted desperately to get off the island. I was out of books and stuck reading a Hemingway book, the only thing I could find in English.

I'd write about the animals I saw here, if there were any...the only ones were two older rhodesian ridgebacks that belonged to the hotel owner. Sigh.


Arlinda said...

I will be sure to tell my clients of this sounds awful
Arlinda/Arlinda Global Travel

Litty said...

Can you let me have the name of the Hotel? I am trying to put together a group for next year and want to avoid this hotel at all costs. Perhaps you could recommend another hotel there?

Esmae said...

The hotel in Anakao was called the Safari Vezo. In terms of being clean and having good beach access it was actually one of the nicer places I stayed. Up the beach a ways is the Hotel D'Ambola, which is very, very expensive and has no hot water but was also very clean. Those are the only two places I stayed, but Anakao seems to be a popular weekend getaway spot from Antananarivo so there are hotels all along the beach, and perhaps a guidebook can direct you to something better. Be forewarned here is NOTHING to do in Anakao but enjoy the beach. Good luck!