Monday, August 8, 2011

iTravel

Earth Watch Institute
I went out with Earth Watch in July to work as one of their project coordinators. In the span of just a couple weeks we made 7 Madagascar maps (showing forest distribution and regions) and a world map. We also provided paint for the schools themselves to be repained. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with many motivated people. The other projects that the Earth Watch team was working on including trapping fosa and other carnivores in Ankarafantsika National Park, monitoring road kill in an effort to reduce the number of vertebrates killed by introducing speed bumps, pulling the invasive water hyacinth out of the lake as it has only appeared in the last 2 years, and starting construction on a new elementary school. The other staff and volunteers were amazing and a noticeable changes were made in the villages around the park.

Nosy Be, Diego, and Parents!
So my parents arrived at the end of July and after a day of Tana we flew up to Nosy Be. There we relaxed, tanned, snorkeled, saw a lot of wildlife and ate delicious food. One of the days we went out to Nosy Tany Kely and got to see a sea turtle and a lot of sea life. After that we went to Ankarana National Park and met a British guy in our taxi brousse. Seeing my parents was great and going in a taxi brousse was an interesting experience for both of us. I’m used to having my knees bruised after a 10 hour ride and after just a couple hours most Americans (my parents included) get tired of being crammed in a hot, smelly bush taxi. Thankfully, the drive was worth it several times over. We got to see a huge bat cave, several versions of Tsingy (limestone rock formations), lemurs in the wild, a scops owl awake, chameleons, and….A FOSA!!! On our second hike in the park we saw a fosa run across our path and into the forest! My first fosa sighting in the wild! It was amazing.

After Ankarana we made our way (again by bush taxi) to Diego-Suarez. We went out to the Emerald Sea, snorkeled, soaked up the sun, and ate an amazing meal. Diego was in peaceful and (though crawling with prostitutes like Nosy Be) relaxing. My parents and I flew back to Tana and in our last couple hours went to the Croc Farm. Who knew crocodile meat is delicious??? So tasty. It was sad to see my parents leave but at the airport I got to see some Earth Watch volunteer friends and see them off as well. Only a few more months until I’m home!

Vacation Plans
The plan is to go on vacation after I finish Peace Corps in December and head to South Africa. Then I hope to see parts of Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Uganda. If you have friends/contacts in any of these countries let me know as I’ll be traveling with friends for the most part but I am unfamiliar with that part of Africa and can always use a friendly face.

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