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You can see the Milky Way



A month later and yes, I'm still thinking about Madagascar. There was one week, following a 16-hour trek from Antananarivo, that we stayed in a little treehouse-like cabin in the coastal town of Manakara. No internet, no phone service, power only when it was dark out (and sometimes not even then, depending on how the generator was feeling that day).
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner was in a hut on the beach, walled in only on two sides. In great gusts the salt blew in and found its way everywhere, touching everything with the taste of the sea.
I wrote a lot in my journal that week (which, by the way, found its way back to me). It was good for my soul.
At night, tucked on my thin mattress draped with a mosquito net, I could hear the ocean ebb and flow and the palm trees rustle. When I couldn't sleep, I'd lie on the cold concrete of the balcony and lose myself in the night sky. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Without the blue tinge of a metropolis, it was black and velvety. The stars shimmered and stretched across the vast expanse, clear as could be, was the Milky Way. Listen, I thought I’d seen a night sky, but my definition of "night sky" was altered forever in Madagascar. I couldn’t stop staring at it. I’d walk at night with my head completely tilted up, pick out constellations and just look and look and look. It was truly one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my short life.
 

Dusk on one of the last days. Because the beach faced southeast, there were no magnificent sunsets over the horizon, and instead a gradual fading to night.



When buying a coconut from one of these ladies, they take a machete and chop viciously away the top. Straws are optional.



Fishermen battle the waves every morning in these canoes, even on the choppiest waters.



Elijah looks in the cabin to see if the baby is awake.



Cozy treehouse bedroom. Light floods the room at dawn and it's especially snuggly when it rains (except for when water leaks in).



Krista walks Isaiah to sleep on the beach. A baby carrier isn't readily available, so I help her tie the baby to her back with a sarong, Liberian style.



Maybe the salty air makes me extra ravenous, but I could eat a whole loaf of the banana bread served at breakfast.



John explains how vanilla is grown and harvested. He's downsized his plantation in recent years, preferring to invest his energy into producing a high quality crop. In May he harvested his pods and in early August they're nearly finished drying.



Looking west.