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14.1.10

Madagascar: A Ride in a Taxi Brousse

The Malagay traveling leaves nothing to be desired: there's adventure, cramped vehicles, and no timetable. Yet getting from here to there is entertaining if you can spare some time, and on the whole, getting around is, like all things Malagay, mostly easy.

A walk around the taxi station. Whities don't attract much attention.

I get the last seat on an already cramped minibus, the driver waves me in and binds the door shut with a piece of string. Around me, women, men, children and chickens sit on seats or sacks of corn, a flock of geese is nervously honking on the rooftop in their woven mobile pen. But, incredibly, what strike sme most is the comparative silence inside. No shouting, no aggression, everybody treis to make him- or herself as small and invisible as possibkle, so as not to intrude on others too much. The driver slides the taxi brousse into gear and we depart, wedging ourselve s through crowds of pedestirans, past lychee stalls and pousse pousse bicycle rickshas.

Hitching a bicycle ride the Malagay way.

I gain new insights into the extents of Malagay demureness about an hour into our way to Andasibe. The petrol perfume and curvy downhill road come to collect their due from a teenage girl. But there is nop way of stopping, no way of appealing for pity. Instead, she silently vomits jets of orange stomach contents into a plastic bag, without the neighbours so much as raising an eyebrow. When the bag is full, it is thrown out the open window between two villages. Several bags are filled and gotten rid of in the same way. and all teh time, not a sound, not a wail. Only the tacky religious music playiong on the stereo system of the cab provides something like consolement as we not exactly speed towards our destination.

Finally back in Tana.

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