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Sunday was a rather hectic day.

First, it was the day two of the musicians from the Blue Mango were leaving Mayotte, one forever, the other for a holiday. The one who was leaving forever hadn't been able to come to our last going-away party and I had a present for her, so that needed delivering. The one who was going back to France on holiday knew I was going to Madagascar again in August and wanted me to deliver a package to his wife's nephew in Antsirabe, south of Antananarivo. The plane was scheduled to leave at 9 a.m., so I needed to be there by 7.30 in order to get everything sorted before they went through to the boarding area.

I was tired from yesterday (again, seeing people off at the airport, making sure their gates were closed and their gas ovens turned off, a lot of driving around and general activity) so woke up at 7.20. Somehow got to the 7.30 ferry - still not quite sure how that happened - and got an airport taxi at the other end, arrived at the airport around 7.50. Hunted for musicians, found one who directed me to the other. Picked up the package from the first one - package which I had imagined to be small and light, but which turned out to be a rucksack full of clothes and broken mobile phones (this is Madagascar) -, found the second, said hello, gave her her present and hurried back out, picked up the same taxi on his way back to the ferry, missed the 8.00 ferry, caught the 8.30.

The reason for all the hurrying was that I had planned to go on a hike with some friends in the south of the island that morning, and we were supposed to meet at 8.30 at her house. Tried to phone her, realized I must have left my (bright yellow and very visible) phone in the car, decided it wasn't worth worrying about, hurried to the car once the ferry had arrived, picked up my phone to call, no battery, very helpful, thank you. Set off to said friend's house, got ourselves sorted and headed off to the hike's starting point.

We were supposed to meet a couple of friends there. He's one of the musicians in the Blue Mango, she's one of the dancers. We had set the meeting time at "between 9 and half past". We arrived at 9.35, didn't see anyone, waited for an hour and decided to set off anyway, as of course, I was the only one with the guy's phone number, and my phone wasn't working. As it happened, we met them completely by chance halfway through the walk, decided on an alternative route together to avoid either of us having to backtrack and finished the hike together, which was nice.

       

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The first thing that struck me on this particular hike was the variety of the beaches in the south-east of Mayotte. The first couple were white or blond beaches, then it turned to white streaked with black, then all pebbles (this particular beach is now known as "the English beach"), then completely black sand, then back to whitish-yellow... Very interesting. There was a nice view of the coast and of the white sand island too, which is an island that is only visible at low tide.

           

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This is my best Mahorese friend, doing her best to take a polarized filter photo using her phone and sunglasses. Didn't come out too badly, either.

             

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The landscapes in the south are very pretty. We walked along one of the "fingers" in the south of Mayotte, a thin strip of land where you can see the sea on both sides. You could also see the local mountains, Choungui (the point to the right in the bottom right-hand photo) and Bénara. Stopped to have some food, but only the friend above had thought about the picnic, so the other three of us had brought strange things. My friend had sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs and bananas. The musician/dancer couple had Perrier, apple juice and cheese. I had baked a rather dense cake to share, but nothing savoury. Talk about potluck.

       

Rando Saziley (1)

Rando Saziley (2)

 

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