Saturday, July 4, 2015


We have internet connection again today, so I'm able to add some of the posts Simon was busy writing last night (Friday night)

Thank you for those of you who kept our concerns for today’s drive in your thoughts and prayers.  Our driver’s warning that we were in for a 6hr drive on a twistier and worse portion of the road than the last two days had made travel-sickness a possibility.  It all turned out fine.  Interestingly, we are less road-weary than we might have been from a 6hr drive even in the US.
I’d been curious to experience N7.  In France, roads are labeled “A” for Autoroute (the equivalent of US interstate/expressway;, or of UK motorway), or else “N” for Nationale, “D” for Departmentale, or “C” for Communale(?), depending on the level of government responsible for them, and are almost invariably beautifully  maintained.   Nowadays, an “N” road will have a bypass around any large town.  In Madagascar the major roads are labeled “N” for Nationale.  N7 runs for over 500 miles from the capital, Antananarivo, to Toliara. 
N7 is the paved road in most of the regions through which it passes.  Don’t let “the” conjure thoughts such as “premier” or “par excellence”; instead think “one and only”.   It passes through settlements large and small.  Vehicles share it with chickens, oxcarts, man-pulled carts, whatever.  We have seen a few maintenance crews, but today there were sections that had more potholes than tarmac.  But at least you see Madagascar, rather than acres of barren roadway.

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