Day 326, Year 5 So Many Wonderful People
Date: Friday, September 17, 2010
Weather: Sunny Day; Very Windy Afternoon
Location: Nosy Sakatia, NW Madagascar

It seems that everywhere we turn here we meet wonderful people. Today we went to another Rotary meeting and luncheon with John from Sakatia Towers. John’s Aunt Marion and Uncle Gerald visiting from South Africa also came along. Today was the Rotary President’s birthday, so the luncheon was extra special. Edith is the Rotary club’s president. She manages the 5-star resort Hotel Bell Plage across the channel on Nosy Be and that was the site of today’s meeting. Marion, Gerald, and I sat around the oceanside pool and chatted away while Mark and John attended the business meeting. We then joined with everyone for a fantastic luncheon. Before becoming a hotel manager, Edith was a chef and John says he is sure she personally cooked today’s lunch. It was zebu (beef) that had been tenderized and then rolled and cooked in a gravy. The zebu rolls were cooked perfectly, just a bit rare in the middle, and were so tender they melted in your mouth. Isabelle who manages Sakatia Lodge on the Nosy Sakatia side of the channel brought the birthday cake and it was not only a work of art to look at, it was delicious. John told us that baking has always been Isabelle’s passion and that she probably did most of the cake preparation. What a talented group of Rotarians.

The Rotary meeting was a long one so Marion, Gerald, and I had a nice chunk of time to get to know one another. They are farmers (sheep and beef cattle) just north of Port Elizabeth on the east coast of South Africa. They have a son who worked for Continental Tires in North Carolina for a few years and is now back in South Africa with his wife and two children. Like us, they think there is nothing in the world so wonderful as being a grandparent. For about four months of the year, Gerald and Marion travel throughout Africa visiting game parks and looking for birds. While here they have enjoyed snorkeling and tomorrow we are going to meet them at the dock at 7:30 am for a low tide snorkel together. It seems that we have much in common and wish we had gotten to know them better earlier in their stay here. They leave Monday for a visit to Nosy Komba and then on to Goulam’s Lodge at Ankarana up north. So we will snorkel together this weekend and then hopefully we will see them again when we get to Port Elizabeth on our way from Richards Bay to Cape Town.

We didn’t get back from the Rotary meeting and luncheon until almost 5 pm and by 6 pm we were on the Sakatia Towers deck. There was another full house tonight–Gerald and Marion; a young couple from Cape Town, George from Argentina; Philippe of Armel T; Ed and Lynne of Constance; and Bruce, Nadine, and Tristen of Pioneer. Bruce, Nadine and tristen leave at 5:30 in the morning, so we said our farewells tonight. We have just so enjoyed meeting them and sharing experiences together. I found it incredibly hard to say our good-byes, but we will definitely see them when we reach Cape Town. We are delivering their bag of snorkeling gear and two big bags of shells and books, so hopefully we will reach Cape Town before Christmas and see them again then.

We once again find ourselves in a country where we could stay forever, but those beautiful blonde-headed grandsons back in the United States beckon us to move on. So one more week here and then off we go, but the memories of the wonderful people we have met here will live with us forever.

100917 Day 326 Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar–Rotary Meeting at Hotel Bell Plage