One of our many memorable moments included stopping for wine tasting at a roadside stall. The wine was memorable (!) but what was more interesting was the prepared food dishes lining the counters. When we enquired as to what each was, the plate of Zebu penis was the one that most tickled our fancy! The Madagascans waste nothing and are incredibly resourceful – recycling and reusing products is fundamental. In Ansirabe we watched as a used bicycle brake cable, snips of aluminium cans, medical tubing and wire were used to make extraordinarily detailed model bicycles. At the craft market in Antananarivo I bought a beautiful fruit bowl that had been cleverly made from recycled metal.
Ilikaka was one very interesting town that we passed through in the south-west of the country, near Isalo National Park. This boomtown sprang up as a result of the discovery and demand for Madagascar’s highly prized sapphires. As you drive through you can see miners working deep holes to extract heavy bags of soil which are then taken to the river to be washed and sifted, all hoping to strike it rich.