East Coast R&R

So, I'd tackled the mud, it had won the battle but I know there is still a war to come with it.
I'd made it to the town of Mananjary, a fairly quiet and laid-back place, with mopeds and zebu.

The lovely staff at the small hotel were heroes and while I was relaxing, they got to work and cleaned up Suzi in fact this was done the night I arrived as apparently this mud is BAD news, it's the stuff they make the houses out of, and once it dries, it is like cement. So in the dark, I could hear the guy toiling with buckets of water, while I had a beer.
The chamber maids had fun with ALL my clothing and the bags, which were amazing and came up looking like new.

I wandered around the town, it's famous for its circumcision ceremonies, apparently they are held every seven years and they all get done at once in a fairly public way by the sounds of it. The next ceremony is due early 2014, and I have to say there were quite a few nervous looking boys in that town.
One of the main crops in the area is peppercorns, and here they lay them out in the street to dry before packing - got to be careful not to step on them.

I had compose for lunch, the sold spaghetti with a range of toppings, this was the most basic yet, on a street corner without even a stool to sit on, the boys were in charge while their mum was at the market.

Here was a different use for a shipping container, put a thatched roof on it and you've got a house!

After a day of rest, and replacing the mirror- I'd lost it in the mud on the fall, I did notice it was missing at the time and groped around in the mud up to my elbows but couldn't find it. The cook from the hotel offered to show me where in the market to get a mirror and so she hopped on the back of Suzi and off we went. Soon returning with a pair of bright red gleaming mirrors attached, minimal choice at the market, and as to quality, well, on the way back from the market the glass fell out of one of them We retrieved it and stuck it back in. As I know things are going to get even trickier on the route ahead, they probably won't last long anyway.

For the time being the road behaved itself and I made it down to Manakara on sort of tarmac, to find that the main bridge in town looked like this

A cyclone had blown through a couple of years ago. I decided to stay in this side of the bridge.

It was swelteringly hot and I was trying to find a cybercafé, so hopped into the rickshaw, there are a lot of these in Madagascar

The view of my toes and the guy pulling the rickshaw.