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Best of the Madagascar blogs

As The Long March closes and competitors bask in the campsite in relief, exhaustion and elation, we look back at the bloggers who have been charting their journeying via the Cybertent each day. Here’s our pick of some of the best reads:

Lorence Johnston: The Literary Blogger

He’s a rare books dealer at Lok Man Rare Books in Hong Kong, so it may come as no surprise that Lorence Johnston has a way with words. This British competitor’s beautifully rendered blog offers a scene-be-scene account of his blister development as well as literary snapshots of Malagasy life. Take this entry from the end of Day 1:

"7 hours later, through small villages with happy faces and laughs at my Malagasy ‘Mbala Tsara’ which I believe is a form of greeting but may just as well have been ‘does your cow climb trees’ based on the amusement it caused, incredible scenery (beaches, cacti, salt cracked earth, red sands, deserted French forts, zebu, stay dogs, goats, and an 800 year old baobab tree), we have arrived at the end of day 1 to an endless white sands beach, fresh coconuts as a treat, clean clothes and local Malagasy singing and drumming.”

More of Lorence's blog can be read online.

Nigel Vaughn: The Satirist

There is a wonderful edge of humor that pervades Nigel Vaughn’s blog—a New Jersey-based banker who is here competing with his wife, Luba. Take this moment from Stage 4 where he writes: “Both Luba and I are back at camp debating what fine cuisine we will be partaking on tonight. In the last stage today we went through a village directly past a bar! I was temped but did not stray off the righteous path.”

We also love his descriptions of the surrounding landscape, in particular this unique take on the tsingy formations: “The highlight was going through the Red Tsingy Valley which had the most amazing sandstone needle structures. They rose from the floor of canyon like a forest of church organ pipes.”

More of Nigel's blog can be read online.

Steve Brydon: The Travel Writer

Management consultant Steve Brydon hails from Melbourne, Australia, and his blog has a superb sense of place. His narrative draws you in as he describes each stage, capturing the scenery and what it feels like to move through the physical and emotional plateaus of a Roving Race—not to mention facing the heat and humidity of Northern Madagascar.

He hits a chord when describing this moment: “I’m spending a lot of time inside my own head as I stroll along. I’m missing my wonderful wife and beautiful children a great deal but find much solace in the fact that I have them. Being mindful of my extraordinary good fortune is very helpful when the going gets truly difficult… and I’ve had plenty of those moments. But the dark patches fade and in the end it just comes down the distance and how much I want it.”

More of Steve's blog can be read online.

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