It seems I wrote this as a Word document on the 22nd of December 2013 just two months after I paid Kuoni for my trip to Madagascar. I should, perhaps, for those who don’t know, state that I should have gone last October, however Kuoni cancelled the holiday not long before we were due to go. I then rebooked with Undiscovered Destinations and am now due to go out in May.

You would think with an extra seven months I would be ready…anyway, I thought this piece might amuse.

22nd December 2013 

Just woke having dreamt of Madagascar. I have never visited this east African kingdom, but back on the 15th of October I paid the deposit for a ten-day adventure to this extraordinary island. I have started to read about the country, their flora, fauna, beliefs, customs, and intricate complicated series of fady, or taboo. All of which try to out do the other with their astonishing anthropology, zoology and botanical uniqueness. So I suppose to dream of arriving at an island (by boat), with just a small pack to stay in a shack at the edge of a beach isn’t to be surprised at. I was with a group of people, most of whom went to the beach immediately – I walked to my lodge in the dark.  African dark of which I have had some experience, so that did come out of my memory. The red carpet was a little incongruous I suppose, but then so was finding a small blue octopus and a sand coloured turtle trying to survive amongst its threads. There may have been three creatures, because initially I tried to gather up the one with a shell, like a shrimp, pink and quite large, only to find it twisted so much I was bothered I might get bitten. Though how this creature was supposed to bite without an obvious mandible, I never queried. In the end I took the small turquoise blue coloured octopus in my hand and carried it carefully out to the beach, with a mind to releasing it. There I found the water at ‘high tide’, and our guide, with the others on the trip, amused that I should have missed the crashing waves and that I had thought to bring the creatures out to the beach. The waves were about twelve foot in height as they crashed to the shore and I found myself with the others just watching the water as it broke, just before I woke to find Pakka curled on my feet.The Grange 2012 April 105

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