Monday, July 5, 2010

My 2006 Madagascar trip

I was lucky enough to be sent by my first employer (KPMG Philippines) to Madagascar for a business trip last December 2006 with a senior and a firm partner. I was just an associate then. I was so happy that all the other seniors turned down the offer for this trip because they were scared of going to Africa. I wasn't. So the managers chose from the associates. And I gladly accepted. Besides, not everyone can (afford to) go to Africa - with a stopover at Johannesburg international airport!

The trip was so tiring: Manila - Bangkok, Bangkok - Johannesburg, Johannesburg - Antananarivo (Madagascar's capital) and then Antananarivo - Tamatave (a province in Madagascar). Good thing we were on business class so there were unlimited food, drinks and booze (champagne, that is) to sleep our way through the Indian Ocean air turbulence.

We stayed in a 4-star hotel at the province of Tamatave during our 3-week engagement. So many things happened during the stay - my night-outs alone traveling via non-aircon cab to clubs miles from the hotel, female prostitutes chasing me, rickshaw pullers (yes, humans pull rickshaws here) taking all my money and how could I forget, the HR staff (woman) stalking me at my hotel because she thought I am straight!

The trek back home felt so much better. We stayed overnight at the capital, Antananarivo. The city may lack tall buildings, international fast food stores and shops, but it is cleaner and classier than Manila. And way colder too (much like Baguio, but higher in altitude). The flight from Antananarivo to Reunion Island to Bangkok to Osaka to Manila took almost a day.

I lost most of the pictures that I took because my sister's old digital camera got jammed in my hand-carry bag and poof, everything was gone! All the photos that I am sharing below were taken from my camera-phones.

 A view of the clouds from the plane window

A glimpse of Johannesburg international airport during our connecting flight stopover

The harbor view from our client's office

Antananarivo city before Christmas

Facade of Hotel de France, where we stayed overnight in Antananarivo

A monument in the middle of a lake in Madagascar's capital

Views from the airport and plane


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