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Starting the day with a big cup of tea was nice, but after a quick stop at a market at one of the many villages to get coffee, the morning was perfect. Feet up, herons and other birds flying along the shore, big cup of coffee = happy. The occasional light sprinkles were a relief from the heat. The second day on the river was a short one to the next stop for the night, with a long lunch at a village across the river from there. Lunch there under a massive tree was great, and they are definitely cooking LARGE servings for me; it’s really more than I can stomach in this heat but it seems an insult if I don’t finish it and they don’t like it when I share with the villagers.

Not awesome, however, was the three young men with clean designer clothes and cell phones and non-utilitarian backpacks (in a rink-dink village in the middle of nowhere without a single road touching it). The way they acted toward the village girls, and the hour or two that one of my oarsmen was gone, led me to suspect they were pimps. Apparently Madagascar does have a sex trade.

The kids there were fun to interact with as we would try to teach each other words. That only went so well before i gave up and, since they loved to sing and dance, I taught a few of them to sing “bring that ass back like a boom-boom-boom.”

The hut for that night was much bigger, and with fewer leaks, although clearly in disrepair during low season and with an odor of urine. Still, a good dry spot where my two oarsmen and a few other villagers were able to get drunk on a rather small bottle of rum. Oops, now they’re on there second bottle. Aaaand now a third bottle, and I’m being tought the Malagasy tradition of pouring out the first few drops onto the ground to honor the fallen ancestors. And the guy with painted nails is making me uncomfortable with the dead-eyed stare he has been giving me since I got here….but it turns out that he’s just a mute with poorly developed social skills.

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