It's friday, which means only a half day of class!!!! So we all went out to get weird Malagasy pizza. It's weird, but good. Very thin crust. The omnipresent beer here is THB and today I tried THB Freche, which has sugar in it and only 1% alcohol. I am such a big fan. It's like beeralicious sprite.
So in the past week, I have done a some things. They include:
- Eating raw coconut meat/juice, which is one of the only things that I have found completely disgusting, (I mean, besides the meat). My host family, however, is a huge fan.
- Going to the enormous new mining project just outside of Ft. Dauphin which caused (and continues to create) a great deal of debate. They're mining ilmenite, which is used to make things like paint, plastic, and toothpaste white. Ironically, it comes from black sand. Sadly, the cost is loss of 70% of the littoral forests in the area. Some endemic species will be lost (at least, in a natural context). We vistited the conservation areas that the mine has set up. I saw my first live chameleon (there have been multiple squashed ones on the rural roads) and a fossa (a giant mongoose relative that eats lemurs) that was in a cage.
- Watching a lot of weird tv at my home stay including : American movies dubbed in French ranging from Atonement and the Other Boelyn Girl to High School Musical 2 and Les Aristochats, Mr. Bean, Dora the Explorer (in French), a terrible movie about a magical healer in Malagasy, a Chaka Khan concert, many many Malagasy music videos, and a spainish soap opera (dubbed in french, of course) on dvd.
- Sitting through hours of boring lectures and ridiculously frustrating language classes. There was one exceptional lecture from the founder of the biggest NGO in the area that was enlightening (and was also in Australian English). Most of them, however, are in mumbled French (with the weird Malagasy accent) about uninteresting topics and go on forever. My Malagasy classes are downright terrible because the teachers are so poorly organized, and throw words and grammar at us constantly. We have Malagasy every day and I still feel like I know nothing. The French classes are similarly frustrating, but only because they expect us to understand them when they explain directions or have lectures in French, but as soon as we get in a class designated "French" our teachers speak to us as if we just started learning the language.
- Eating fish and shrimp for the first time in a long time. My fam still doesn't know expressly that I do not exactly eat meat, but they must know by now that I vastly prefer fish.
- Eating avocado with sugar. That's how they eat it here. Like sweet guacamole. Apparently, I'm going to be making dinner on Sunday and I thought I'm make some guac to show them how we do it.
- Visiting a fishing village (yesterday). We interviewed the fishermen in small groups with translators. I felt like I was in a documentary. The scenery was gorgeous. The roads here are truly horrendous and we drove on the sand for a bit and there was a moment where we were doing some sliding and I was downright terrified. But it was also awesome.
- Getting soaked on the way to class. The hot weather has been replaced by rain, and clouds, and more rain. I definitely prefer the rain.
- Making friends with my 3-year-old host sister. We're buds now.
- Having the maid(s) go through my things, taking my laundry, and then asking me about my things.
So this weekend, I've got some reading to do and some beaching to do. I'm gonna visit some of my friends' host families to get an idea of how other people live. From the way we all talk about our homes, they're all very different. But no family in the states in alike either. I truly know very little about what's actually going on with the political drama. There are news briefs all the time, but they're in Malagasy. I know that Ft. Dauphin will remain peaceful. I'm not sure if we'll still be visiting Tana at this point, but that's not for a while. Again, I hope I'm not too boring. I've taken quite a few photos, but I have yet to figure out how to get them onto a Malagasy computer. However, I anticipate that I will prevail. It's just a matter of time. Happy Valentine's Day (which I completely forgot about).