Today was Sunday, which is usually a day off for us. We had a short lecture after breakfast about primates in Madagascar and their evolution which was cool. In just a few days we’re going to be seeing some lemurs and other animals in the wild. After that lesson, we took about a 1 hour bus ride to a palace where kings and queens used to rule from. It’s all the way up on the top of a mountain, and overlooks the entire city of what is now Antananarivo (population 2 million). A lot of the city is very poor, typical houses are very small and crowded together. The views from the palace were incredible, the visibility is far-reaching in every direction. After exploring the palace grounds for a few hours, we ate lunch and returned back to our hotel. After a quick nap we went to an Italian restaurant for dinner, where I ate some Zebu (Madagascar cow) steak….it was great! Tomorrow we have a full slate of lessons on plants and animals of Madagascar. Tuesday we will set out on a 5 day camping trip where I won’t have any internet access, then we’ll travel to the ValBio research center to spend a majority of the trip there.
Here’s a picture of me and my Malagasy (Madagascar native) friend on top of the mountain overlooking the city! He attends a university in Madagascar and is one of 2 Malagasy students to be participating in the entire trip with us. It’s great to have some native students to help with a language barrier and to provide some great info into the culture of the country.