It was a dark and early start today. We were up at 0345 to leave for the airport to check in at 0400. Carl picked us up and we arrived in time to stand in line. Security/check in wasn’t open quite yet, which was a little weird. You are supposed to check in 2 hours ahead of your flight. 0430 rolls around and they let flights departing after ours check in. Hmm. 10 minutes later more flights are allowed to check in. We ask the security guy “what about the Nosy Be flight?” He looks confused and says maybe it’s delayed. He has no information either way. Neither do any of the other dozen or so airport employees milling about like Keystone Cops. At 0445 Dave finally goes to the Air Madagascar desk to confirm. Yup. Flight is cancelled (although they never actually admitted that). The new flight is 1545! Nobody said anything to anyone, passengers or check-in staff; we had to hunt down that info. There were a few of us waiting. We guess that the flight wasn’t nearly full enough to run, so they just bumped us to the next one. The very nice customer service lady at the Air Madagascar desk said there was a welcome center in the International area that we could wait in. Dave went over to scope it out. It’s a very small kiosk with another desk and a love seat. Nope, not hanging there for 8 hours. We then emailed our local travel agent saying we were having Carl take us back to the Relais hotel and back to our room. We figured we could at least have our room back until check-out time at 1100. At 0530, the guy at reception hands us back our key and we are return to the same room we just finished sleeping in, no mention of staying past our welcome. Somebody had already done a walk through and taken the bottle of water we had left (no biggie) and had moved the cupboard doors to check the safe. We hadn’t bothered locking the door when we left earlier as we were checking out. We are being positive and saying security was making sure we didn’t leave any valuables behind.
So we relaxed in the room. Watched a movie and basically killed time by the pool till lunch. We had a tasty and relaxing lunch and then at 130 Carl picked us up again for attempt to fly #2. This time we were much more successful. Our flight was even listed on the overhead TV (which Kris noticed had not even been switched on earlier). Although they had rebooked us as economy not business class. Again the seats are the same but the carry on limit is double and the baggage limit is triple. That means no excess baggage fees on each segment. A short and easy chat with the supervisor and we are back in business class. There is no such thing as a lounge for Business Class. So no free beer. We killed the two hour wait in the cafeteria style seating and then off we went.
Once we arrived in Nosy Be there was no one holding a sign for us as promised. No taxi waiting. We found the bus for the hotel but we weren’t listed on his paper. No problem. The guy stuffed us in with three other passengers and their luggage, and off we went (it felt a bit like a taxi brousse, but it was better than walking the several kilometres to the hotel! And there were no chickens or ducks in the van).
This island (Nosy Be) has a huge Ylang Ylang crop – we passed some trees on the way in, but it was starting to get dark, so we couldn’t see much. Ylang Ylang is the base fragrance of Channel #5 perfume. The whole island has a nice flowery scent even though the trees aren’t in bloom right now. Mmmm, back to tropics we go. We are at 13º south of the equator so yes very tropical. It is very humid again and feels like we’re back in the rainforest.
45 minutes or so later we arrived at the Anjiamarango Resort with a beach side (literally) bungalow. We are about 20′ from the water. We have a/c in our bungalow but the top 10 feet of the roof are open to the outside and there are just wooden louvres in the windows. It’s like putting AC on your front door and then leaving it wide open.
So yes to a/c but no insulation against the heat. Funny stuff. We will take more photos of this place tomorrow. So far it looks rustic but beautiful. The proprietor is obviously very proud of his oasis. Oh and there’s a thunder and lightning storm going on with crazy rain squalls. Definitely rainforest!
As this is a somewhat remote area, meals have a few rules. There is a large menu, but we need to choose our lunch and dinner selections ahead of time. We inform the Chef du Village what time we’d like to eat and it is prepared when we arrive for dinner. The system worked quite well. The resort is owned by a very nice Frenchman named Philipe. We found it a little amusing the only wine served is from South Africa. You’d think a french guy would prefer French wine (we have had several very nice bottles of Cote du Rhone). You get a choice of Red, White or Rose. He promised us it would be good. It was.
We are tired from such an early start and somewhat rough day with the flight cancellations, no taxi and the rain squalls. So off to bed early we go and will reset our expectations in the morning.