Madagascar Unfiltered Days six&7: Sapphires and Isalo National Park

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Madagascar Day six: Leaving Mikea and Understanding Extra About Sapphire Sales

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Mikea Lodge, Madagascar

Our keep in Mikea was brief but oh so sweet! To be absolutely sincere, I didn’t sleep substantially since my lucid dreaming was out of manage due to the continual stimuli inside the tent, but the daytime experiences have been worth it.  

(That was random of me to say but it indicates that when wind is blowing or there’s sounds though I’m sleeping I commonly have quite vivid, realistic, and largely terrifying dreams that I can generally manage but also have a tendency to turn into sleep paralysis. I’ll be writing an complete post about that quickly).

So we boarded the boat once more this time it was higher tide so we could load up from the shore alternatively of taking the cattle cart. We spent the hour extended boat ride taking in the sights along the shore, which have been each the gem-colored waters, and beach-front villages.

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Do not make us leave Mikea!!!

Then it was a further two hours on the sand and dirt road from hell that seemed like it never ever ends. When we ultimately reached the paved road, I nearly got out of the automobile and kissed it. Not that it was drastically greater considering the fact that we nonetheless had to swerve about potholes, people today, and slower automobiles.  

We stopped on the way back in Tulear exactly where we had arranged to meet with the nearby lady who sold Sapphires 1st. And may possibly have also contemplated attempting to book the 1 hour flight back to Antananarivo rather than devote the subsequent two days driving.

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The smaller sized stones are the genuine sapphires, and the larger ones are generally just some kind of less expensive crystals

Complete disclosure, we had arranged to meet her ahead of we knew about how undesirable the mining circumstances have been, and the toll they take on the atmosphere. In my 1st posts I described how I’d only want and recommend shopping for gems from locals so the income goes straight back to the neighborhood, and in the final post I explained what truly goes on with the sapphire mining. 

The lady and a man came with the gem stones, which have been in worn down jewelry boxes or folded in paper. I do not know a lot about shopping for gem stones but at least knew you have been supposed to weigh them and appear at them in the light for impurities. Scratches or uneven cuts commonly is a designation that the stone is genuine and not synthetic.

When they 1st pulled out all of the stones, I was quickly drawn to the enormous ones 1st. They glittered in colors of royal blue and purple, and also some that have been clear like diamonds.But they weren’t sapphires. The sapphires are about 1 twentieth of the size of the bigger ones, since the bigger ones are created from all-natural stones and crystals that are much more abundant. Sapphires are uncommon and really hard to obtain, and when you do obtain them, they are commonly in tiny pieces.

I weighed and chosen two of the “larger” sapphires (and by bigger I imply larger than the rest of the tiny ones they had — these have been the very same sizes we saw at most shops), plus a larger non-sapphire, and she quoted me a fairly fantastic value of about $50 for all 3.

Then they described some thing about getting in a position to get pink sapphires — which are even much more uncommon, and the deal continued. The lady had to take a taxi to go get the pink sapphires, and even though we have been pressed for time, the wait was worth it.

The pink sapphires have been twice the size and weight of the blue sapphires, and consequently of course, twice the price. I ended up with 1 1.7 carat pink sapphire and two 1 carat blue sapphires for $160USD. This is a fantastic deal compared to the price of 100% genuine sapphires sold by jewelers, but the genuine worth for me was getting a all-natural element from Madagascar, which possibly will no longer exists in the future.

As I described in the post ahead of this 1, the debate of supporting shopping for sapphires or not is a complicated debate. On 1 side, if you can invest in them from locals, you are assisting a lot of people today who want the income to survive.

But on the other side, you are encouraging much more mining with ridiculously low wages for miners, and the deforestation that it causes.

I would enjoy to hear your comments under on a feasible answer to this!

Arriving in Isalo and Jardin Du Roy

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One particular of the several small towns we passed on the 10 hour drive to Isalo National Park

I’m not going to lie, right after hardly sleeping for two nights and catching a bit of a cold…I passed out for the majority of the ride to Isalo. I did wake up randomly at 1 point just in time to see the word “Pharmacie”, and asked our driver if we could quit so I could get cough medicine.

By the way, for these of you worried about receiving sick or injured though traveling, Worry NOT. Each and every time I’ve gotten sick or injured, I’ve simply just popped into a pharmacy…or hospital…and gotten something I required. Not just that, it is generally been medicine that functions ten occasions greater and is ten occasions less expensive than it is in the U.S.

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Herbal cough syrup I purchased for about $three that helped kill my cold in two days

If you want to study much more about what to do if you get sick abroad, I’ll have a thorough post about that subject up quickly as effectively, so be positive to subscribe to my emails!

And if you want some much more reassurance about the economic elements of receiving injured or sick abroad, verify this post out: Nations with the Least expensive Healthcare

ANYWAY! Following buying some herbal cough syrup for about $1 (that really worked), we kept driving into the evening to attain Isalo. Regrettably dusk was just sweeping in when we got there, but it was sufficient light to give us a glimpse of the enormous regal granite stone estate framed with bougenvellia trees and towering boulders.

Despite the fact that it was dark, I could inform that the Jardin du Roy was some thing that could have appeared in a fairytale. The vast, effectively-manicured green lawn, chirping with grasshoppers (that also had no shame in flying at you or attempting to share your bed), dotted with the stone structures that comprised the rooms was practically nothing brief of whimsical.

Madagascar Day 7: Horseback Riding and Handicraft Buying Ahead of Departure

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Does this not appear like a fairytale to you??

If you haven’t study several of my posts on right here or social media, I’ll go ahead and let you know that I am OBSESSED with animals. Specifically horses.

So when I saw horseback riding on the Wau Madagascar itinerary in Isalo at Jardin du Roy, I was beyond excited. Waking up at 6am to do it, not so substantially, but it was all the time we had ahead of the final driving stretch back to the Antananarivo airport.

Seeing Jardin du Roy in the early glowing hours of the day was definitely fantasy-like. The granite block buildings, manicured lawn flecked with frangipanis, and towering boulders created me really feel like I was in France or some thing.

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Just a casual trot via the forest of Isalo exactly where Jardin du Roy is.

Then we got to the stables and I knew I was for genuine in a fairy tale. The U-shaped stables had some of the most gorgeous horses I’ve ever noticed poking their heads out of every stall. I quickly ran up to all of them to say hi and give a scratch to every.

It was a touch choice to choose which 1 I wanted to ride, considering the fact that I generally go for the chestnut brown ones with white diamonds on their foreheads since they remind me of my childhood horse Nikki. But considering the fact that I was feeling fairytale-is, I went for the tall, all-white mare named Rochelle.

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Every thing about this location was image excellent!

I’ll go ahead and let the pictures do this practical experience justice, but trust me when I say, it was practically nothing brief of magical!

Madagascar Handicraft Buying

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Just receiving prepared to re-decorate my complete apartment with these gorgeous raffia handicrafts.

The quantity of Madagascar decorations I now have for my apartment is obscene. Thank goodness I only had a small bit of Malagasy Ariary income left, since otherwise I would have required an extra suitcase to get every thing residence.

If you are into shopping for nearby handicrafts, souvenirs, decor, bags, and so forth., unquestionably what till the finish of the trip. Each since then you do not have to carry it about, and also since the ideal location with the least expensive costs is a couple hours outdoors of Antananarivo.

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An individual unquestionably purchased three of these rugs…and then had to figure out how to ship them back to the U.S.

I cannot don’t forget the name of the precise place since we just kept stopping every time we saw stalls, but there’s an region in amongst Ambavalao and Antananarivo with tons of them.

You can negotiate costs, but to be sincere, they’re currently so low cost, and these people today want the income much more than you do, so just spend complete value.

We Lastly created it back to the airport in Antananarivo right after an very extended week’s journey. The quantity of insight, education, and experiences I had was priceless, and has motivated me to create a lot much more once more, and share much more personally about destinations worth going to and how we can assistance them.

I’ll have an complete suggestions an information post out subsequent, and once more, if you are interested in joining an eco-tour subsequent year with me, please drop me an e-mail or comment under!

Disclaimer: This tour was sponsored by Wau Madagascar, nevertheless all experiences, writing, pictures, and opinions are my personal.

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