Saturday, July 2, 2011

Car ride from H-E-double-hockey-stick, FINALE

I can't stand this story anymore. Good thing this is the last of it.

Here I am on day 3 of being stuck in the car, looking a wee bit creepy.

And Meghan, looking rather cute.

After the potato meal, the cyclone swung into higher gear. That night it rained. HARD. And it was so windy. As if its not hard enough to sleep upright in a car seat, without the wind swaying the vehicle, and water pouring in on your feet. Did I mention that? The passenger side had a leak, so every couple of hours (for days) the floor was flooded and had to be emptied. What actually bothered me more was the smell in that car. Ugh. Put 5 very dirty people in a small wet space for a few days, and it becomes rather unpleasant.

The next morning, I woke to the sounds of Lanto (my super great feild cook) barfing outside of the car. Poor thing. And, she'd had enough of this car crap. We couldn't move the car and had no idea when help would arrive. Jacky was enroute with another car, but once he left town I had no way to communicate with him. For all I knew, Jacky could get stuck somewhere too. We knew we were close-ish to Behelok, but didn't know if it was a 6hr or 20hr walk there. Lanto decided she was going to risk the walk, rather than spend another day in that miserable car. Given how I like to worry, I thought this was a really bad idea. It wasn't raining, but those scary black clouds were still hanging overhead. The weather was going from heat-stoke temperatures to hypothermia in a matter of hours. AND we had no more fresh water, AND she was vomiting.

Lauren (that poor French dude that was getting a ride with us), kindly agreed to accompany Lanto. So they left and we waited. I was really really hoping help would arrive that afternoon, but it didn't. My ipod was dead and there was nothing to do other than allow the flies to drive my f*$%ing crazy. Pardon my 'french'. Oh, but a did discover a couple of interesting facts. Unbeknownst to me, all this time I had been traveling with a) the body of Christ, and b) pornography. Yes, that's right folks, the sacramental bread and porn.

The blue bag on the dash if full of the Eucharist. I don't have any x-rated pics, but trust me, the DVDs were there.

I built a little pathway to the "clean" water, for rinsing my hands and feet, before getting back into the car. FYI- The plant is Kapaipoty and it smells like pepper.

That was a long day. I kept hoping that help would arrive and had about 3000 mood swings, think that we would surely be rescued, or we would surely die in that cyclone, somewhat ironically of dehydration. Finally, when it started to get dark, I gave up hope for the day and cracked one of the three bottles of wine I purchased in Toliara. Sick or not, it was drinking time. The next morning, I decided, Meghan and I would start walking towards Behelok too. We had too little water to wait anylonger.

Then, sometime after dark, OMG, an SUV arrived straight out of my dreams! Jacky had somehow convinced 5 mechanics, one of which had vehicle, to TRY to drive out to the middle of nowhere to rescue us. And they made it. Hall-e-freakin-lujah!

It then took a number of hours to get both of the cars out of the mud and we backtracked to a fork such that we could try a different route. The drive that ensued was the most frightening I've ever endured (and for the record, I had Rivo as a driver back in 2005). We came so very close to disastrous crashes many many times. We actually did hit one of the mechanics, but he was ok. Dark, wet, raining, muddy, only one gear, high speed, and bald tires are a really bad combination.

But, we did finally make it to Behelok. We got a room in the weirdest hotel-ish ever, and at around 1am I took a very cold, yet extremely satisfying, bucket shower on the beach, in the moonlight.

The next morning, I also had the pleasure of barfing. Yippee! But I popped some dramamine (gravol, for my Canadian peeps) and we were off to the park. Or so I thought...

Ok, I seriously can't stand to write about this much longer, but here is what happened. We were in the new car and made it through all the villages going south, and then turned to head inland to Tsimanampetsostsa. We had been on the road maybe 3hrs total, when, I s*%t you not, the NEW car got stuck in mud. We had no option other than to get out and WALK back to the village. I was sick as a dog, it was sunny and +40 degrees Celcius, and we had to get out and walk for over 2hrs. Can you even believe that? I couldn't.

But we made it. I collapsed into sleep once we got to the village, and decided to stay the night there. Lanto, who also made it back, graciously let me stay at her house. I simply didn't have the energy for anymore shenanigans that day. Oh, and we made it to the village just in time for me to get fairly severe diarrhea, which is terribly unpleasant to have to deal with in a town without sanitation, or even a pit latrine.

The next morning, which for the record was DAY 5 of a journey that should take 10 hours, I hired two ox carts. One was to take people and the other was to take luggage and food. It was about a 3hr ride, during which time one of the cows had near-constant airbourne diarrhea. There is a certain sound that a cow makes when it is a) jogging, b) has liquid diarrhea, and c) its back end is half hanging open. That, my friends, is a noise I won’t ever forget.

Here is my view of the non-diarheal laden cow.

The second cart with my supplies. And Valentino, the 4-year old that is all ears.

We did make it. Exhausted. Covered in speckles of cow excrement, and just in time to find out that a 2ft deep flash flood had come through with the cyclone. Not great news when your house is a tent. None-the-less, I was happy to be back at park home-sweet-home, and spend the better part of the next week sleeping it all away...


  1. hey marn--i always love and lurk but that first zebu cart pic is breathtaking!! had to comment

  2. Thanks! I like it to. The tracks from other Zebu cars make it look all stripy. Hope you are good!