On the street in Madagascar…

I didn’t really know what to expect. And I was right not to expect, because there is no box for Madagascar! Sometimes it felt like we were in the middle of Asia, surrounded by rice paddies and people with Polynesian features. Sometimes it felt a bit like what I imagine Cuba to be; a colourful, time-warped country with antique cars and bright colonial-styled buildings with paint peeling off the red-clay bricks. Sometimes it felt like we’d walked into a French Cafe – choosing from a menu of Foie Gras, croissants and imported French wine. Sometimes it felt like a street market in Mozambique; with piles of clothes for sale on the road side, road-runner chickens and cows obstructing the traffic.

I love this about Madagascar, that it’s a country that fits no box. It’s different to anything I’ve ever experienced; a colourful patchwork of people and landscapes.

Antananarivo Rice paddies

“Discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” Marcel Proust

 Street vendor

While visiting ‘a beautiful countryside’ is tops on my list when choosing a destination, it’s people are as fascinating to me. I love to ‘people-watch’ and to see a way of life completely different to mine. Driving through the cities, towns and villages in central Madagascar had me glued to the car window – camera ready to fire at any moment at the passing scenes and landscapes. We were lucky to have a great driver who quickly cottoned on to the type of things we were interested in. For my husband it was the productive agricultural practices in the central region and for me, the landscapes and the ‘every day life’ of the Malagasy people.

A circumcision ceremony with a band, a jovial crowd and the mother comforting her son before the ‘big snip!’

Mattresses on the road

“The best journeys in life are those that answer questions you never thought to ask.” – Rich Ridgeway

Birds in a cage

Just to the right of this ‘bird vendor,’ was a man in a wheel chair assisting him. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to include him in this photograph. But I did notice the irony of a man trapped in a wheel chair, selling caged birds.

A food market in Antsirabe

Halaal butchery

Duck, Zebu (a type of cow) and pork are the most common meats you’ll find in a road side butchery.

Gangsta boy clarinette canteen

You can learn so much about the people simply by driving down a street and observing the ‘every day’ moments – like this teenage boy who’d rather be doing something else other than selling his mother’s French pastries!

This is one of the many reasons I love to travel. A fleeting moment; a gesture, an action or an expression can tell us a story or give us insight about the every day life, here . While the scenery, or the culture or the people or their beliefs seem so different to our own, it’s these little random everyday moments that are familiar, that we recognise. The small moments that connect us, like the threads in a patchwork quilt.

Hitching a ride

“When you reduce life to black and white, you never see rainbows.” – Rachel Houston

The Pousse-Pousse operators wait for business in the midday sun.

Moments before...

Policeman in action, narrowly missing a pousse-pousse!

Wagon transport

Circle of friends

Circle of friends; the cool kids!

Antananarivo streets

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other we may even become friends” – Maya Angelou

Scooter specialists

Nothing is too old to fix!

Street fire

“As a traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own.” – Margaret Mead