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Ambositra 16/01/2016

Ambositra 16/01/2016
We arrived at Ambositra just before lunch time. Our trip here included a zebu/ cattle horn processing plant, makers of miniature cars, scooters, bikes and tapestries and finally a gem stone store. Ok, with regards to the processing of cattle horn, I certainly was no fan! However, I was part of a group that were not vegan and it wasn’t all about me after all.    I guess the ‘good’ part is that the .

On the road again: Antananarivo to Antsirabe

On the road again:  Antananarivo to Antsirabe
A slight delay in our departure as we worked out exchange rates and paid our hotel bill. If only we could have simply swiped the old visa but no, this was a cash only enterprise and our bill for two weeks accommodation and all meals for 3 people was AR 2,063,000 (Ariary ). This amounts to approximately NZ$ 997 which isn’t bad considering. We decided to pay in Euros and Ariary which is what .

Goodbye Antananarivo

Goodbye Antananarivo
Today was our last day with the dogs. We have grown exceptionally close to some, especially the pack in the puppy section. We know all their names and their little peculiarities and we will miss them so very much. From teeny but feisty Gemma and Storm, to the quiet introverted Dancer and Pixie, to Nosie with an obsession over hair in a bun or ponytail. There’s Kaya who quietly lies down beside you with .

Making friends

Making friends
  Another interesting and exciting day with a driver arriving at our hotel to take us to Carlina’s lovely home above the dog facility. Carlina tempted us to 10am bubbly on the porch, until our departure to the vet clinic at 10.30am. The clinic is a little oasis in town with a reception and admin area, consulting, operating, ultrasound and X-ray rooms, a little laboratory where technicians were using microscopes for parasite diagnosis, and .

The big smoke

The big smoke
   Wow! We are still reeling from our day trip into the city! Our little Renault taxi arrived at our hotel at 9am and we promptly set off on our adventure. We were constantly bombarded by noise, smells, colours and energy. The roads are organised chaos where people, cars, scooters, cattle and trucks somehow manage to co-exist without incident, despite their narrowness, the huge potholes, bends, dust, chooks and stray dogs. Every inch of .

Work time

Work time
Carlina informed us that the staff were too polite to give us work yesterday, even though we asked for it. Today they were a little different and had plenty to keep us occupied.We walked, washed, trained and played with the dogs. We also filled water bowls, swept, scooped poop, prepared food and watched trainers put their dogs through the obstacle course. Language still proved to be a bit of a barrier though, but we .

Doggy Heaven

Selfies
We woke slightly earlier after being disturbed a few times during the night by the torrential tropical rain.After breakfast, with the sun once again bobbing in a clear blue sky, we headed to the dog rescue facility. Our contact Carlina, was unfortunately held up in the office in the city, so we enjoyed the hospitality of the Malagasy staff, most of whom do not speak English. Justin (our main host)was very friendly and had .

Life Outside the Hotel Room

Life Outside the Hotel Room
Today (Sunday) we feast on freshly baked baguettes , croissants and strawberry jam, tea, coffee and juice under a shady tree in the cobbled courtyard of the hotel cafe. There is the constant sound of life all around; roosters, cows, dogs, birds and insects and chattering, laughing children. The same big-eyed children peak at us over , under and through the hotel fence- waving, smiling shyly and calling ,”bonjour,” only to be chased away .

… So we Thought

… So we Thought
After harrowing and exhausting flights from Auckland to Perth to Johannesburg and feeling mostly incapable of stringing a basic sentence together, the mood started to lift when we finally managed to corner some coffee, smoothies and muffins and embark on the final 3 hour leg of the journey to Antananarivo. At last, we started feeling like we were on holiday with the gorgeous sapphire blue of the ocean far below , the thought of .

the journey begins

It’s a stormy day in Auckland and we’ve said our goodbyes to friends and loved ones. Auckland airport is crowded, groups of people laying claim to spare chairs for phantom friends and relatives, bleary eyes, stressed-out parents and kids clutching their Happy Meals tightly, in case their parents come out of their travel funk long enough to realise that stuffing little people with high fat, high sugar foods is probably not the most pragmatic way .