On our last day in Madagascar we had a free day to relax. Our flight to Paris leaves at 1am so we intended to wander and explore a bit and not do too much.
We slept in and had a lazy breakfast. We had three errands we wanted to cover off. First was chocolate. Northern Madagascar grows some incredible cocoa and we wanted to buy some of the bean to bar local brands.
We have picked up the odd bar to enjoy while here and wanted to bring some home.
Second as we’ve noted before, rum here is a talent. Dzama from Nosy Be has been a favourite of ours.
If you ever see some of this at your local liquor store and are a rum fan, buy some.
The local Shoprite (Safeway equivalent) has both chocolate and rum for for less than the tourist shops. We’ve learned this from other trips and there was a Shoprite a couple blocks away. So off we went to load up.
We also passed by the main Tana post office and stopped in to see if we could find a Coton De Tulear stamp. No such luck. We’re pretty sure we were told they are not currently in circulation. Sorry Katherine, no stamp. We did see what we think is a breeder here though. We had to look it up but Chiot means puppy. You can’t go puppy shopping and not bring one home and also the alley looked a little sketchy. So we snapped a photo of the sign and moved on.
Our last errand was to look for Sapphires again. When the nice Swiss gentleman in Ilakaka didn’t have what we were looking for, he told us to visit his friend in Tana. We negotiated with a taxi driver outside of the hotel. The store was about 2km away at the Tana Waterfront (it is a strip mall by a lake) and for a round trip plus wait time it was 40 000MGA ($16 CAD).
We chatted with a very nice Swiss jeweller. Ultimately his prices were too high and we couldn’t really get exactly what we were looking for. So no jewels for Kris. Perhaps when we visit Sri Lanka at some point we will try again. There was also a small Bijouterie (jeweller) up the street. When Dave asked he said nope no sapphires at all.
We enjoyed a nice lunch back at the poolside restaurant in the hotel. We didn’t want to just still all day so we headed out onto the streets again. A few blocks away is a huge local market with many hundreds of stalls each selling one or two things. One stall sells pots, one does flatware etc. There were several kiosks selling only steel wool scrubbers! It was loud and chaotic but interesting to walk around and experience the local shopping scene. This is the very beginning of it. We forgot to take photos once we were immersed. In fact now that we look at this shot, it’s downright quiet and serene.
These shots are from when we were first in Tana and more representative of the market today.
We returned to the room for a nap. We don’t expect a great sleep on the plane tonight and want to hit the ground running in Paris tomorrow.
We headed to the restaurant upstairs at 7pm only to find out that they were full. Hmm. This can’t be good. The maitress d’hôtel offered us a table after 830 – we leave at 10 for the airport so that would be tight, plus we’re hungry now. We noticed a restaurant/ bar up the street earlier, so through we would give it a try. Hmm, strike two. They were having a private function and not open to the public tonight. Crap. Ok, back to the hotel to figure this out. Turns out that the pool bar where we ate lunch doesn’t do dinner, but has a “snack” menu. It is a somewhat more limited menu but good enough in a pinch. In fact there were only three other tables occupied, so much quieter than the busy main restaurant and the location was nice in the garden beside the pool. All in all it worked out, but not something you really want to have to deal with at the very end of your stay in a strange country. Mind you this could have happened easily at home too. Maybe more choices to go to but still. We left happy and full. That’s what really matters. We went back to our room to pack and will depart for the Tana airport shortly for our flight back to Paris.