Everybody comes to Madagascar for the lemurs. Cute and fluffy, they give acrobatic performances most mornings, unless it rains, and even include in their newborn that cling tightly across their middle like little furry corsets. I, too, look up and click away afraid to miss a moment of the gymnastic cuteness, but secretly I only count the seconds till the buggers leave and give the stage to the chameleons.
Now, there’s a colorful true actor in character and costume. One that evokes emotion with only a mere sway of a hand – his face frozen in such a nonchalant expression that it’s clear he is a natural and doesn’t even need to try the least bit to have the crowd in stitches.
His act is, first of all, a magic act – poof! Here he is, materialized out of nowhere. It sits calmly on a tree branch looking to the front and to the back simultaneously. Its facial expression is priceless – blasé and concentrated at the same time. Three toes on one side of the branch, two on the other, he too is a skilled gymnast – get too close and with odd, robot like, grace he flips upside down, unwinds his coiled tail and concludes by swinging athletically through vines and twigs off stage.
And what about their vibrant colors! Because of their ability to change their tint they are still feared by many here in Madagascar. As I go through the day’s pictures in a local eatery, I hear a terrified shriek behind my back – a waitress saw a chameleon on my computer screen. These superstitions, though, are what ultimately protect the animal – the locals believe hurting a chameleon will bring unspeakable misfortune to the doer. Nevertheless, things change with the development of tourism – those who wish to earn their living as nature guides must suppress their fear of these multicolored wizards, and traffic in Madagascar now only slows down and not comes to a complete halt, like before, when a chameleon crosses the road.
Born in Ukraine, raised in Israel, and acquiring her higher education in the US, Sarit Reizin is proud to call herself a citizen of the world. However, to stay worthy of the title, she felt a nomadic lifestyle was in order, and in November 2005 left the comforts of the first world with no desire of coming back any time soon. http://HopStopTravel.com