February 13 - Still in Paris
The word from Madagascar is that the president and the opposition are meeting today. This is good news, we hope. Several diplomats from the UN, and the Organization of African Unity are working to persuade the challenger to agree to run-off elections toward the end of February. Meanwhile the capital remains paralyzed, roadblocks are preventing gasoline from getting to Antananarivo, and there apparently is a banking crisis making it very awkward to get money. This cannot be easy for the Malagasy people who on the whole do not have enormous liquidity anyway.
We have been having some difficulty with the satellite phone. It apparently really needs an absolutely clear view of the sky. Granted it is not exactly where we envisioned we'd be doing this. Still, though, this has given us the opportunity to see how well the set up works. It might even be easier to complete uploads from the field than in a city. Short of sitting in the middle of an intersection with cars whizzing by it's a bit difficult to find a place away from buildings here.
Still hoping to get out by Friday or Saturday
Knowing that we have at least today and tomorrow in the city, we went out for dinner last night in the St. Germain de Pres area…. ate fondue, lapin, and (of all things) paella. Afterwards, Evon and Liz insisted they'd get Mark dancing so we wandered over to Discotheque Le Saint. After a night of everything from disco to marengue to hip-hop we agreed we could sleep-in this morning and wait for word from the airlines.
Unfortunately our second day in Paris was consumed mostly with ducking out of the driving rain between running errands. Or first job was to complete upload of the images from yesterday to complement the text. The rain, of course, made this awkward but eventually we settled on a nearby bus shelter next to the Seine. It must have been an odd sight; 3 Americans with an oversized phone, antenna extended, hooked up to a lap-top, their attention focused earnestly on what they were doing… directly across the road from the World Arab Institute.
While writing this we learned that everything is "go". There must have been a breakthrough in Tana. We are confirmed on Friday's flight to Madagascar! And we will arrive on Saturday morning. As such we probably will not be writing again until we are well ensconced there. Likely February 18th.