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Mada-effin-gascar

Madagascar

Let me get this out of the way.

My wife and I split up a few months ago. She initiated. I needed to find a new job, so I started looking for work in Africa again. I struck gold with a nine-month gig in…

Mada-effin-gascar
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m pretty sure this is what they say.

And, no, I did not seek out the farthest place in the world from Flagstaff, Arizona. It just worked out that way.

That ought to explain why most of my posts for awhile will be written from Madagascar.

I will be using this blog to share my non-bike-related experiences with friends, family, and anyone else who finds their way to this blog.

Let’s get on with it.

My job is through a program called Peace Corps Response. Technically, I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer again, but I’m sort of like a subsidized consultant to my employer, an American NGO called Human Network International.

Madagascar Visa
I got my visa a few days before departure.

My luggage was carefully weighed and planned to minimize excess charges. I brought a bunch of tech stuff and music stuff. I’m planning on getting a scanner.

When I did Peace Corps in the 1990s, I don’t remember bringing anything that plugged in.

Luggage
Unfortunately, it meant I had to leave my ukulele behind.

To save space, I vacuum-packed a bunch of clothes. A weird product.

Vacuum-packed clothes
Like a giant wad of cold chewing gum.

The last several of weeks in America, I seemed to have a heightened sense of taste. Everything tasted fantastic — from fancy food that legitimately did taste fantastic such as Lomo De Puerco En Mole De Almendras at the Red Iguana, to Pei Wei Kung Pao in the Atlanta airport.

Pei Wei Fortune
My inspiring example: Standing in line for a 15-hour flight

And I left North America for the first time in about 14 years. Looking around at the other world travelers from many nations, I remembered the feeling of being an economy-class member of the jet set.

Johannesburg's famous obelisk of Windows errors.
Johannesburg’s famous obelisk of Windows errors.

The highlight of my overnight in Johannesburg was getting reacquainted with Castle Milk Stout.

The next day was my three-hour flight to Madagascar, which I spent reading email and stuff. Two-and-a-half hours in, it occurred to me to direct my face at something besides a computer screen.

My first sight of Madagascar.
My first sight of Madagascar. Now I remember why I wanted a window seat.

I was received at the Antananarivo airport by a Peace Corps Driver named Jones. He delivered me to “the Meva” — which is like a one-star hostel for volunteers in town for work or administrative business.

Welcome to the Meva
Only in America…

I started meeting my colleagues and experiencing Antananarivo.

Men's bathroom sink
The most amazing men’s bathroom sink I’ve ever seen.
Vanilla Rum
Vanilla-infused rum with a Belgian expat. Way too good.
Jeep Golf Cart
Are you Jeep or a golf cart? Make up your mind.
Colgate Herbal
Brushing my teeth with eucalyptus flavor! Where have you been all my mouth?

I also got a sneak peek at my apartment where I will be living for the next nine months.

Chien Mechant
“Vicious Dog” We’ll see about that.
I haven’t met this dog yet, but he or she is going warm up to me.
My house
My house.

After a mere three days in Madagascar, I was sworn in with another Response volunteer named Liz.

Swearing In
While I’m blogging and posting to Facebook, she will personally eradicate malaria.

That’s pretty much it. I know you were expecting lemurs and stuff, but I haven’t seen any yet.

But I’ll leave you with this:

Boxing pen

Possibly the most amazing thing I’ll see the entire time I’m here.

Today is the day I move into my place.

More to come.


I have previously blogged about Madagascar on Commute by Bike:

3 comments

  1. Kathy Cano-Murillo Reply
    September 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    This is so exciting, I will be following your adventures! You inspire me, really living life to the fullest, taking risks, seeking adventure! God bless and I hope you have a safe and exciting journey over there!!!

  2. Ted Johnson Reply
    September 27, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Kathy. Yesterday was a very busy day. I was shopping all day, buying furniture for my house, cooking utensils, other stuff that I need. It was kind of overwhelming. So much haggling to do in a language that I don't speak well. At one point I was slumped in the seat of a Toyota Land Cruiser, with many more things still to do before sunset.I turned to my new friend who was in the car with me, and I said, "I am so glad that I did this."

  3. Chuck Cheesman Reply
    October 5, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    How is it going? Vanilla infused rum sounds good.
    Have you seen the penguins from the movie yet?

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