Friday, October 24, 2008

Anananarivo: HECTIC!

I got into Madagascar yesterday afternoon after a couple of restful days in Johannesburg, hilighted by a powerful visit to the Apartheid Museum there.

In the eighteen hours I've been in Madagascar, on the street I've been offered - in order of usefulness - a bottle of water, cell phone airtime, a baugette and other foods, clothing, French-language newspapers, calculators, raw meat, bamboo, live animals, and a 40-pound full-scale replica model sailing ship.

Tana is a bustling town, and you need to share the streets and narrow sidewalks with cars, rickshaws, and the armies of street vendors walking around. It's, to borrow a word from RSA, quite hectic.

Madagascar also seems a bit difficult to navigate. I speak almost no French, and - although there's some English spoken here - have done a lot of pointing and gesturing, and getting around is also tough - there are virtually no street signs and all rental cars come with drivers - it's impossible to drive your own vehicle, though I'm not sure why.

I have plans to spend the rest of the day exploring the capital here, then tomorrow I'll head south to spend a few days visiting some national parks and searching for lemurs.

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