Letters from Madagascar: The land of Faux Cap
Greetings! After being on the road for the last month, I am kind of sort of in one place long enough to start catching up. But not really. So I’m just going to dive into this story, the one about Faux Cap, a village where I spent a week in September.
Faux Cap is a rural community at the far southern tip of Mada. It’s not much further to Cap Sainte-Marie, which actually is the furthest southern point. It’s in the middle of the spiny-thicket, a Doctor-Seuss-like landscape characterized by massive cacti, baobabs, octopus trees, sisal stalks, and other weird-looking plants which are adapted to survive incredibly dry and windy conditions. (I would hazard a guess that 90% of the plants there have sharp-poky things. Have spines, will poke.) The surreal character of the land is only exacerbated by the shards of the eggs of the now-extinct elephant bird which cover the beaches.
We arrived in Faux Cap on Saturday night after a 9 hour ride in No Problem, the private taxi-brousse (think giant hay-ride flatbed, with a canvas roof, and pulled by a massive truck instead of a tractor) the program rents out. I haven’t written at all about roads outside of Fort Dauphin, partly because I haven’t written about any other excursions, and partly because there are no words. The national highways are the gold standard for road quality in southern Madagascar, and you might, if you are lucky and maybe a little bit stupid, get up to 40 miles an hour for a couple hundred meters. If you aren’t on a national highway, don’t expect to get over 15 mph. The roads are filled with pot-holes (they are, in fact, more pot-hole than road) and are often flooded, burning in a bush fire, or are blocked by herds of zebu. It’s an adventure, and one which No Problem is ready to attack. I mean that somewhat genuinely, since I can’t think of any vehicle I’d rather take, but also with immense cynicism, since after 9 hours in No Problem, one is bruised, covered in dirt, and exhausted.
Much love from across the ocean,
Dont’t forget to come back next week for more Letters from Madagascar