Looks Familiar

The road out of Vangaindrano and the mud is back with a vengeance. According to the guidebooks, the final 250kms stretch down to Fort Dauphin in the south east corner is one of the worst stretches of road in the country, and with Madagascar, that really is saying something

And around the corner it gets worse...

Still a bit of culture to be appreciated (or for me, any excuse to take my mind off the mud), some tombs - like nothing I've ever seen anywhere else.

then a brief respite as I await the ferry/barge, I know this is the first of at least 10 that I'll be facing on this stage of the trip

And here it comes

As I ride on to the boat, the blokes running it tell me there's a problem and that they don't have enough diesel for the journey across the river. I act dumb like I don't understand, which is pretty easy as everyone's face looks dumbstruck as they hear me speaking English and realise I'm not a French speaker (though I can be when I want to). These ferries are supposed to be free as they're government financed, in place of bridges. But a tip is always given at the end.
Luckily a car arrives behind me, they have the same conversation, but instead of giving them money for diesel, the driver lets them have some of his spare diesel (he's obviously used to this type of thing)

You can se the green tubing where they are siphoning off some of his diesel out of a jerry can in the boot.

I chat to the car driver and apparently it is quite genuine, there are problems getting the fuel from the main depots to the boats and therefore the guys are having to buy the fuel locally which they don't have a budget for. Things are in disarray in Madagascar, due to the lack of elected government, there was a coup a few years ago and they are just having elections now to sort out who will run the country. Public services are at a bit of a low.

Sometimes I'm lucky and the mud has dried, creating a nice riding base. Whoops, that sounds a bit female, OK I'll say a decent riding surface.

And then the landscape changes and looks a bit less tropical and well, a bit more like Scotland or any other place with moorland and open spaces.

In the valleys between the hills, I make the most of the rivers, by stopping to cool down, rinsing my gloves to wet them.