I made the trip independently with my second husband, a repulsive loser—ask anyone—and all-around impotent jackhole. (I had some self esteem issues back then.) But he did like to travel.
Most of the respected tour groups were full for this popular eclipse, the first TSE of the 21st century. I contacted several travel agents who regretted they were unfamiliar with Madagascar and couldn’t help. When I tried to find an internal flight to the dusty seaside town of Morombe (our viewing destination on the west coast of the country) I received this adorably formal email from Josiane Razafinavalona of the Madagascar tourism department:
“Further to your e-mail we are pleased to send you hereunder our proposal concerning the eclipse totale in Morombe. Due to the importance of queries recorded uptodate, planes are fully booked at this periode and only car is the mean of transportation left.”
So I forged ahead with my own half-cocked plan: fly to the main airport in the capital city of Antananarivo (“Tana”, for short), rent a car, and drive two weeks overland to the coast where weather prospects were brightest.
We flew into dangerous ‘Tana (we heard gunshots at night from our room at the Hilton) and rented a vehicle for the foray west through Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa, Ihosy, Isalo National Park, and Toliara.
I’ve never been anywhere as bizarre as Madagascar.
Above: Boarding Air Mad
Eclipse path through Africa
Duration, eclipse 2001