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Here are some photos from Common Sense and Whiskey, chapter 10, Madagascar.
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Or, go back to Chapter 9: Sri Lanka, or on to Chapter 11: Tibet
You see the same picture of Tana in all of the few guidebooks. Now we saw it too. Your intrepid backpacking-guide author stayed at the Hilton. Here's Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar.
And the long view, pulled all the way back to the window of the Mad Hilton, showing Lake Anosy, too.
"The sun dropped behind clouds before sunset. New in town, we stayed in our room a few floors up, attacked the minibar and warily eyed the busy, dusking-up streets around the lake."
Zoma means Friday and it’s also the name for the positively teeming Friday market in Madagascar’s capital city, Antananarivo. White umbrellas wash out ahead in every direction, swallowing up the main square, flowing into busy little eddies beside stairways, up the hills as far as the eyes can see.
The Zoma, the Friday market in Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar.
Buy whatever you will. Locks and hinges. Grenadine drinks. Bright plastic jugs. Chicago Bulls caps. Greasy food rolls. Major motor parts. Michael Jackson T-shirts. A vast selection of wicker. Bon Bon Anglais Limonad. We bought a "Madagascar" ink-pad stamp that actually printed "Madagascap."
We walked up each side of the Zoma - past the train station, bureaux travel, the Library of Madagascar, and made it to the top of an adjoining hill, unrobbed.
Manou stopped for us to take pictures of President Didier Ratsiraka's palace (which would have been at our peril in the old days) framed in the foreground by mud-hut squalor. Massive and multi-level. Ratsiraka tried to be king, said Manou.
It was a couple hundred meters higher than even the king's and queen's hilltop palaces in Tana out here, and when clouds covered the sun it got positively chilly.
We drove right into and straight out of Antsirabe, straight on to Lac Andraikiba, a beautiful clean deep blue bowl free from crowds except for kids. A canoe with two men paddled silently toward the center of the lake.
This boy was out collecting these grasses around the lake. He came to see the foreigners.
"Pousse-pousses," local transport in Antsirabe, Madagascar.