Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Days 88: No Work Days but No Sick Days Either

We rounded out our time on the west coast by taking the refreshing hour-long boat transfer back to Tulear at 8 am. Our flight to Tana wasn't until 8 pm so we had the whole day to kill. We decided to get the cheapest room our Tulear hotel had to offer so we could rest, power up our devices, and use their free Internet. We were able to leave our bags and go shopping around town for sapphires.

We found a great little family-run jewellery store with friendly and helpful owners. Their selection wasn't huge, but was better than in Ilaka. Erin had previously mentioned off-handily that she might like a heart-shaped stone and lo and behold they had a couple. We liked one ring in particular with  two round sapphires in what he called a 'toi-et-moi' setting. It looked great, except that they were yellow and pink. They didn't have any others like it, but after much humming and hawing, we decided on two heart-shaped cut sapphires, one blue, one white, that will need to be set. It will be so special to have stones we picked ourselves from a mine we'd witnessed being worked, from a country we found so special (for reasons more than just that we got engaged in it).

Feeling successful, we headed back to our room and were thankful that wet got it. Craig, who hadn't been feeling great, suddenly took a turn for the worse and spent the afternoon in bed quite ill. By an insurmountable feat, he managed to make it through the plane ride, though the flight attendants got quite nervous when they realized we had started taxiing up the runway and he was still puking in the bathroom.

Another thing of note was the laughable security we've experienced at Malagasy airports. When we checked in in Tulear, the desk attendant noticed our water bottle and reminded us we'd need to drink it before going through security. After checking in, we sat outside the front doors of the airport waiting for the plane. When it finally arrived, we walked through the security doors with no word from the security guard about our water. She asked to see one of our passports (didn't open it-just saw that Craig had one), then let us pass through (no bag check). Once through security, we could hang outside the windows with the other passengers watching, and taking photographs, of the plane landing.

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