Back to Mainland Africa

Jeffrey Larson

When we finally got back to Antananarivo, we went straight to the Air Madagascar desk to see when we could get to Nairobi; we would try to get there as soon as possible.

When we explained what had happened to the woman at the Air Mad desk in the airport she was shocked and had no idea that these planes, which we were to fly on, had not come. She directed us to the check in counter and said that there was a flight that would get us to Nairobi today! It turned out that the earliest flight that worked was not the next Wednesday, but we could get fly the next day (Saturday) to Johannesburg and then on to Nairobi on Sunday. We jumped at this chance, and were glad to get some cooperation and hospitality from the people working for Air Mad back in Tana, back in civilization.

We demanded they pay for our hotel for Friday night and they put us in a hotel in Talatamaty, which is a village 10 minutes from the airport. The room we got was really nice, I had no idea they had such places in Madagascar until now! After we got checked into the hotel in the afternoon, we got a ride with the hotel lady in to the village so we could go to the bank, since we still had to send Rakoto the money that we owed him. And it was so lucky that we did get a ride with her and not a taxi, because without her help in the bank we wouldn’t have gotten anything done.
The bank was packed with probably a hundred people, there was loud music playing and our helper got us in to the right “queue” and somehow got us the correct form to fill out in order to send Rakoto the telegraphique cash transfer. We still had to wait over 2 hours to get it done but we were happy that we were finally out of foreign debt! We made a phone call to Rakoto to make sure he would get the transfer on Monday and gave him the transfer number, all done!

The next morning (Saturday), we went and used the internet at the post office, and tried to see if we could get some help with rearranging our safari and international flights since we were running out of time. If we could not go on our planned 4-day safari until Monday, we would not be able to make our original flights from Dar es Salaam Tanzania, so something still had to change.

We caught the plane in the afternoon and said goodbye to Madagascar. Although we had some uncomfortable experiences here, we still were so grateful to be able to come, and didn’t regret going to any place we did, including Maroantsetra… that’s how much we loved Masoala Peninsula.

We arrived in Joburg early enough in the evening, and our first stop before even leaving the airport was the Air Madagascar ticket office to get some vouchers for our forced stay over/reroute to Nairobi. After walking around and asking around, it was clear that Air Madagascar did not even have a ticket desk anywhere in the airport, so we headed for the South African Airlines desk since that is the Airline who we were flying with to Nairobi.

The SAA desk people agreed that a voucher was in order after looking at our tickets since it clearly showed that it was an involuntary reroute but they refused to issue any vouchers for another airline! Anyway, we got them to call someone in from the plane that we had just landed on, who was able to make a phone call to the right person at Air Madagascar, and they finally gave us hotel/meal vouchers. So we went and called our parents to let them know we were back safe in mainland Africa.

After our phone call we headed for the shuttle to our hotel, only to find out that we had just missed it, and another one was not coming for an hour! Argh, so tired of this crap, we considered catching a cab but angrily waited for the next shuttle instead. We ate dinner in our hotel room while watching TV for the first time in ages. Early tomorrow morning we will finally get to Nairobi… only 5 days later than our original plans.

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