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Karsten's last Logbook Entry - An Inconvient Return

There is not even an image I would like to show. Its the absence of beauty. Kind of. A matter of taste, I suppose. On our Madagascar journey, I fell in love. Very. And to keep the powers of the universe in balance, I also unintentionally fell in hate. Our last days in Madagascar rushed through. It became a hurry. Things we so desperately wanted to do were not possible in this short amount of time. Once in the plane, I got a last glimpse of what has become my life for two month. Rainforest on the one side. Klara on the other side. However, the inconvenience this time was no nexus of typical comedy situations commented by a much more civilized and intelligent kind of narcissistic victim. The actual inconvenience goes a little deeper... Berlin, 25th of June. Airport. Raindrops glue to my glasses and distort my view. I feel alienated. Everything here is in order, systematized, over regulated. There are aluminum signs that tell parents that its their own responsibility if their kids get hurt when playing on public green space. While we've been to Madagascar, my car in Berlin got towed off because they started construction work in a parking area and my car touched the blocked zone, although it has never been an obstacle to the workers. That will cost me 170 €. Thats more than you've got to pay if you steal sth. in a supermarket or if you dodge paying the fare. I wanted to meet a friend in an open-air pub, but since it was too full that day, a greasy security guard refused to let me in if I don't call my friend via cell to pick me up at the entrance. My cell was not yet activated and handing out my bag or passport was no option for the stupid security poser. I went to a supermarket to get some fruit and accidentally ended up standing next to a fifty something discount chaser who was highly indignant at my whispered realization, that those apples come from New Zealand instead from within our own country. She indirectly but loudly called me a hysteric eco-minded spendthrift and bought these apples in defiance, not in need. . Things that recently make me become emotional Luxury problems, isn't it? Where does our luxury come from? Even the poorest in Europe can afford an Android cell phone that is faster and more practical than any military supercomputer 12 years ago. If we wouldn't stab our mines and monocultures into the remaining islands of purity and legally enslave or banish people, our 81 Mio. country Germany wouldn't be able to have 120 Mio. signed in cell phones. The numbers are growing. Europe recently bought the coastlines of Madagascar as fishing grounds and now we overfish an area, that was meant to feed the poorest and ship it all around the planet into our cities. People are starving now. Wanna know where most of that fish goes to? No, not onto your dishes. We throw it away! Its rubbish! Just because the minimum durability date is slightly over due in their supermarket graves. Thats a fact, dammit. Our "freedom" is build upon the shoulders of millions of people who don't even have electricity. Our luxury is a parasitical effect of overexploitation. And there is yet no significant intent noticeable that our system is about to react upon this awareness we all usually have. I mean, whats going on here? Aren't we supposed to work together and make us trust each other? We call it civilization, don't we? But we let others - call them the "evil corporations" - do the criminal acts and after, we pay them for it! And then continue to call them evil. Reminds me a little bit of the behavior of a miffy princess. It appears to me that too much regulation leads to laziness of moral and mind. And heart. And too much luxury simply leads to arrogance. And ignorance. If you look at all of that mathematically, you will come to the point that our free peoples are heading to a dead end within the next thirty years. This is simply math. No need to play the idealist here. Pride comes before a fall.

Gate to heavenA fairy tale I went to Madagascar in order to find out, what we change to safe that country and its wonderful nature. Now I come back and all I can realize is that we need to change ourselves.

Get on the world's deck

Rocks are like ideas: they can lie in your way, help you getting over wild waters or just impress you by there massiveness. The Antringitra Massif has all of that plus a heap of surprises. If I would have gone alone here, how could I ever be able to enjoy the experience when thinking back and tell friends about it. Going with Klara was exactly the best thing to do, because she can not only compete an altitude change of 1000 meters in just one day and even learn Malagassy while we rest, she's also a great improvisor of songs and stories and love to make fun of herself. Of course, we'd never could have done all the way up without guides. Its all too easy to become lost there. So here we had two way different personalities, yet with the same ideas of life. Our guide Herailala, well English speaking, became a good friend and open minded teacher as well within a couple of hours. The other guide was 56 year old Elisabeth. In terms of personality, her age is crucial. She has known Antringitra for year. But she can hike all the 1500m altitude and even carry her water on her head as if she'd go for some simple shopping at the market. She was just as chewy as a the meat of a Madagassy chicken. Thus if I wasn't impressed and feeling small by the awesome landscape and mindblowing views, Elisabeth made me feel small and europeanly weak. Gladly we had some chicken with us. There's always one who is weaker than you... And one of these chickens I carried all the way up to the camp at the feet of 2650m highest accessible mountain on Mada. The best way to keep chicken fresh was to keep it alive. I fed it as often as I could, before we killed it the morning of that day we hiked to a weird alien landscape of west Antringitra. Than at high noon, surrounded by the most magnificent plants as e.g. sunburn avoiding Aloe Vera cacti and dynamite grass Xerophita, we enjoyed fresh cooked rice with chicken while appreciating the greatest views. What did I learn about life here? Who - for real - needs McDonalds and chemical tainted food packed in colorful plastic foil?

We reached a camp that had to trot out lots of surprises. Except for the intensive dust in their fix dirty tents - we had to take one of these - the Mewa camp lies between two spectacular mountains and close to socalled Chameleon Peak. It looks like a chameleon, for sure, and its worth the hike up on its hat. However, at the time we finished the fifty something letters and postcards we promised to make for our supporters, a giant swarm of crickets invaded the area. The clouds of insects were not new to us. We've seen them from far away before and also walked through thousands of crickets that couldn't really fly because of the cold air in the mountains. But this time, the invasion was overwhelming and vital. There were moments when the sun was noticeable darkened.The sound advanced into a helicopter's landing, sizzling and droning. Yet children ran around in order to catch as many of the insects, cause if they eat the rice, than people have got to eat them. Fried cricket tastes a little like fish with peanuts. All of the sudden, it was easy to understand which troubles the people here face once in a while. Cyclones, dry seasons, crickets, political crisis - the Madagassy are as chewy as their chicken or as our 56 year old guide Elisabeth. They are used to hard conditions, they can handle it, live with it and still smile, because their simplicity is the key. All they need to survive is a Zebu, a rice field and children. It has always been like that. Although it lead them into environmental troubles now after some hundred years of spreading and slash and burn agriculture.