January 26 to February 21 Curtis and I experienced a trip of a lifetime to visit our son, Clinton, and his wife, Joan, in Madagascar. They have lived there for four years as Clinton is one of the managers at the nickel refinery that was under construction and is now producing nickel.
The posts that will appear over a period of time will give readers a glimpse of our experiences. However, no words can fully explain what we learned from and feel about this opportunity.
These pictures span 24 hours flight time, airport lounges, security checks, high-speed trains, Chunnel Eurostar, and numerous underground rides. The Eurostar was a two-hour journey but only 20 minutes under the English Channel.
We left Edmonton on Sunday and arrived at Tamatave on Friday. Two days were spent recuperating on Reunion Island. Eventually we arrived at the Tamatave airport in Madagascar.
It is like no airport we have ever experienced. Tamatave is a city of about 3 million on the eastern shore of Madagascar. Clinton and Joan reside at Ambatovy, the nickel refinery site about 10 miles from the city. Tamatave is also a large port city.
A mix up of arrival times found us waiting in the outdoor lounge of the airport in 37C heat for 3 hours. Picture this. We did not know the local prefix for the phone number and only had enough ariary currency for two bottles of water. Numerous native taxi drivers were hovering for a fare. Finally a native who spoke a few words of English was able to provide the proper prefix.
Our son’s red face and endless ribbing of his co-workers for leaving his parents stranded at the airport at the mercy of Malagasy culture will linger for awhile.
The problem was that Clinton has always arrived on the Tuesday plane which does arrive at 12:30. We were on the Friday one that arrives at 9:30. Assumptions triumphed over the printed itinerary.
To be continued …
Click any photo to see a slide show.