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August 1, 2003
|As we move deeper inside Madagascar, the roads climb higher and the temperature drops. In our minds we imagined that Madagascar would be covered by rain forest, but the reality is that poverty stricken farmers have decimated over 90% of this island's tree coverage. What's left in this central region are miles of open grassland or cultivated rice paddies.|
Zebus represent the main status symbol in Madagascar. No zebus, no status. Because so many zebus are walking around, the restaurants sell good beef at a lower price than chicken.
In the evening we stopped in Fianarantsoa, the academic and intellectual centre of Madagascar, which lies at the heart of the country's most productive agricultural region. Moutains and hillsides form Fianar's backdrop and the city has a high country atmosphere. We shivered in the cold air, such a different climate than the beach from a few days before. In the 1970s a Swiss corporation realised the wine-growing potential in the surrounding country, and it is now a wine-producing region. Order beer.