BY VINCENT PARDIEU WITH RICHARD W. WISE
Moramanga mining village, Andilamena region, Madagascar, June 29, 2005
It is , and I can’t sleep. It’s been two hours since the local nightclub has ceased churning out the pop music that can turn this jungle city into a disco. The neighboring movie theater closed a few hours ago, and the choreographed grunts of the latest Kung Fu movie have faded into the darkness.
Still, the jungle night in this mining village is far from quiet. In fact, it sounds like a battlefield. By day, this shantytown of 15,000 is the kingdom of men, but the night is ruled by rats — thousands of them, perhaps millions. In each wooden shack, dozens of rats run over the sleeping bodies of men, women, and children. I don’t like rats, so I’ve made a small fire and installed some candles; that way I can at least work and think . . .
So begins Colored Stone Magazine's three part series on the gem mines of Madagascar. Follow the adventures of Vincent Pardeau as he treks through the the Madagascar outback to the wild west town of Moramanga. CS Magazine has very generously made our series available online. If you are not a subscriber, get with it. READ ON: http://www.colored-stone.com/stories/jul06/madagascar1.cfm
Richard W. Wise is a goldsmith and gemologist. He specializes in connoisseurship and has visited most of the world's major mining localities. His critically acclaimed book, now out in paperback can be reviewed at www.secretsofthegemtrade.com