Can you imagine traveling 200 km in 10 hours? Sounds speedy right? That’s essentially the pace of a fat Braunfisch boy doing the mile run in elementary school. Our adopted mom and dad were about to complete such a journey back to their homes, currently separated, after they dropped us off at the “airport.”
Once our 4×4 crawled to the large dirt path that was the airport, we were greeted by our pilot, who wears a pilot’s shirt with shoulder stripes directly from Party City. There were no local kids to wave goodbye, but two tribal men in black cloaks came to watch us takeoff. They were essentially dementors, but when one’s foreboding cloak slipped down to show his nipple, we couldn’t help but laugh. Today we were in for a treat, a fat, white Frenchman was the “copilot.” This Cecil Rhodes character would sporadically turn around, smile at me like everyone’s evil step uncle in a nightmare, then look back. The only comic relief was him trying to touch a few instruments and getting his hand gently guided back to his personal space.
We have officially arrived in Toliara, a town of 300,000 on the southwestern coast of the county. Despite it being winter, its about 85 degrees in the day and perfectly sunny, which is a bit nicer than being at home in a 110-degree bathtub with the rest of Arkansas. Our driver, Melvin, finally a name we can remember without an embarrassing or degrading nickname, took us to a national arboretum, where we saw an outrageous variety of different trees, flowers, and plants. Don’t get me wrong, Madagascar’s flora is as sexy as a Victoria’s Secret Fashion show when the indoor sprinklers go off, but an hour was about all we needed. Not to mention, our guide was an adorable local who would make jokes that were so unfunny that you wanted to taste the poisonous sap of the tree.
Back in the whip, we were told that we were scheduled for a four-hour round trip to go to the “Horse Park.” My Mongol roots were coming out, and I couldn’t wait to get my tree trunk legs back in that sweet saddle again. Christian, because he’s “the smart one,” asked more about the park, and we learned that it was another arboretum. Four hours? For more plants? Are we also picking out our coffins while we’re there? We decided to pass and go enjoy the pool at our beachfront hotel.
This hotel is simply amazing. It only has 5 rooms, is beautifully laid out, has a fantastic beach view, has a pool, and looks out over the great landscape away from the city. This was more of our speed. My only criticism was that this secluded retreat might be some type of commune where they try to promote “pan” love and boost fertility of their guests. Joke’s on them though because we wear really tight pants, so their fertility mumbo-jumbo is worthless on us. Anyway, we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves here. We flew the drone for a minute, and I thought someone was about to pierce it with a spear. Smile and wave boys, just smile and wave.
With more plant knowledge than you’d ever care to know,
Hans “a horse park? I love horses,” Josef “I mean, but the hotel is right here,” and Christian “it’s a four-hour trip, and there are no horses. That’s a no from me, dawg” Braunfisch