SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB



Seniors Seek Adventure On The Red Island

277a Years back this senior had a friend whose father was a missionary in Madagascar, a Magical Country.   She learned the dominant local language and that always impressed me being a language teacher myself.  She also learned French, the “official language”. There are several native tongues amongst the almost 23 million inhabitants on the island. Seniors, get your coffee and enjoy Madagascar with me today.

Madagascar is located some 250 miles (400 km) off the southeast coast of Africa. Madagascar’s population is primarily related not to African peoples but rather to those of Indonesia, more than 3,000 miles to the east.

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The Malagasy peoples, moreover, do not consider themselves to be Africans, but, because of the continuing bond with France that resulted from former colonial rule, the island developed political, economic, and cultural links with the French-speaking countries of western Africa. The local currency is called ariary (3186.75  to a dollar). Have fun with that one.

Madagascar is home to thousands of animal species – like lemurs – found nowhere else, plus rain-forests, beaches and reefs. Near the busy capital, Antananarivo, is Ambohimanga, a hillside complex of royal palaces and burial grounds, as well as the “Avenue of the Baobabs,” a dirt road lined by awesome massive centuries-old trees.

 Seniors Fascinated By Uniqueness Of The Island

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The island is a land like no other in that there are so many species that are only indigenous to the island. This island, roughly the size of Texas or France, is home to more than 250,000 species of which 70% are found nowhere else on the globe.

Madagascar’s long isolation from the neighboring continents has resulted in this unique mix of plants and animals. This has led some ecologists to refer to Madagascar as the “eighth continent”. Of the 10,000 plants native to Madagascar, 90% are found nowhere else in the world. Madagascar’s varied fauna and flora are endangered by human activity, as a third of its native vegetation has disappeared since the 1970s.

Lonely Planet notes: lemurs, baobabs, rainforest, desert, trekking and diving…Madagascar is a dream destination for outdoor lovers. The remarkable fauna and flora is matched by epic landscapes of an incredible diversity: you can go from rainforest to desert in just 300km.

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Seniors Enjoy Kaleidoscope Of Nature And Culture

Few places on Earth offer such an intense kaleidoscope of nature. There are sandstone canyons, limestone karsts, mountains, fertile hills cascading with terraced rice paddies, forests of every kind – rain, dry, spiny – and a laterite-rich soil that gave the country its nickname of ‘Red Island’.

Wikipedia notes that the first people arrived in Madagascar between 350 BC and 550 AD from Borneo on outrigger canoes. These Austronesian first settlers were joined around 1000 AD by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel.

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Other groups such as Arabs, Indians, and Chinese continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. The Malagasy way of thinking includes a mixture of cultures, as well as their appearance and fashion style.

This island is on my personal “travel bucket list,” and I hope that you put it on yours as well. Who knows, maybe you will run into me there too. Enjoy your visit. -jeb

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