It was raining next morning as we left Ranomafana, which was somewhat appropriate.
Ninah and Odilon were in better spirits,and sang out loud to their favourite artists. Some great Malagasy tunes, quite catchy. Nice to hear, good to know.
We stopped along a few places, art shops and markets and a tin fabrication place. The tin was manually melted and then tipped into forms. No machines here. Our destination Antsirabe, wasn’t far away and we had plenty of time.
Another big city, but something felt different. I saw my first garbage truck on Madagascar, the streets were cleaner, and I picked up a slight alternative vibe from students going to school and university. After a fantastic pizza, we checked in our hotel. 3 nights in Antsirabe, I wasn’t sure what Ninah had planned, but I was looking forward to some chill time. I had my first sleep in for ages and caught up on Internet and my diary, which still is damp. I went for an afternoon stroll along the streets, listening to Dire Straits.
Appropriate band name, walking down the telegraph road. Antsirabe is the push push capital of Madagascar, and there are lots of them. All trying to wrap up some business. I just wanted to go for a walk and I think, that message came across.
I don’t like the idea of sitting in a cart, while someone else is running their feet off for my comfort.
Even though it is their income, and I felt a bit sorry not to have given them any work.
That evening, I asked Ninah to come up with a plan for my remaining 18 days, and the cost of course. We haggled a bit and came up with a fair price, I think. Odilon said, they’d be here around 7 am next morning, and we would go to a nearby lake. The clock passed 8 am, and I haven’t had a coffee yet. 8 30 am, and still no one here.
I just wanted to go for a coffee,and a croissant possibly. They are surprisingly good here.
I followed a busy road, and ended up at a huge market. Everything was for sale, from veg, fruits and spices, to dried and fresh fish, meat, live stock, garden supplies, tools, fashion, art and possibly someone’s mother in law. Lots and lots of cafe stalls, food stalls and so on, Malagasy style. A real lively market and I didn’t bring my OM-D. Always, always bring your camera, you just never know. Back at the hotel, Odilon was washing the car, whilst Ninah was waiting for my return and seemed happy to see me. Possibly a bit worried what happened to me? In the nicest way possible, I explained that if they are not here in time, moora moora time included, then I go walkabouts. I had a great morning and I wasn’t mad at all.
We went on a push push tour that afternoon, stopping by a zebu horn manufacturer. Quite interesting, a shiny polished outcome of all sorts, with lots of different techniques, no machines here either.
The kids were shining too, in another sunny, but chilly afternoon.
From there, we went back to the markets. Still going, but not as lively as it was earlier.
The sun was fading too, and that meant less, but a shiny light for photography. The language of camera still amazes me, kids are often really cheeky, to have a photo taken, then laughing when I showed them.
Even an old man without teeth, selling garlic, was full of beans and entertained the crowd. Ha ha, what a character. His wife, not so keen, hid behind a mountain of garlic.
We left early next morning, or earlier, as we had a long drive ahead of us. Our destination was Tamatave, about 400 kms north from here. It doesn’t sound that far, but if you drive thru the highlands, dodge massive pot holes with oncoming traffic, or being stuck behind a truck, crawling up the hill, then yes, it is a long drive. I asked Odilon about the night driving,as I didn’t want him to get arrested again. But that limitation only applies for certain areas,this road wasn’t one of them. We arrived late, but happy in Tamatave, in pouring rain.