The day found us on the road right after eight oclock. Last two days were not bad when it comes to the weather, but continuing our journey in south-west direction we hoped for even less rain. Continuous bumps and potholes on the road kept our progress at steady slow level. We were leaving Central Highlands and landscape around has changed from fertile green hills to the barren open areas. Rice fields disappeared completely, and we noticed less and less villages on the way.
Near the town of Ambalavao, we stopped to see the Zebu market, the largest in Madagascar. While parking near the market, a group of local children surrounded our car. They peered inside and asked for something, but we were not sure what they really wanted. Unfortunately, we did not have any cookies that children always took very willingly. In broken mix of several languages, we tried to find out what they wanted. To no avail, children still insisted on something inside our car. After some time, my wife Eva realized, they must be thirsty, lets give them the water these kids are pointing to. We had only one partially empty bottle of water that we decided to give them. One boy quickly grabbed it and ran away. To our surprise, he did not drink the water but poured the entire contents on the ground. With an empty bottle, the boy disappeared from our sight between countless cattle in the market area. That behavior extremely surprised us. Later, we understood that Malagasy people live on an average of two USD per day. Thus, these used empty plastic bottles are a real treasure if they can be found or acquired. They can be used for storing milk or water or can probably have hundreds of other uses. From this experience on, we always gave empty bottles to kids we encountered along the way.
After a night in hotel Le Jardin du Roy, we spent the most of the day walking on the trails in the Isalo National Park. We reached three natural pools and enjoyed watching lemurs, which were playing in very short distance from us.