Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Markets: Flower, fruit, and black.....

I wanted to take more photos of Tana, so arranged to have the driver, Vlama, that I had last week take me around. At my request, the hotel told him to stay with me with me wherever we went, and at various stops he paid people to watch the car and to help us merge into traffic. I felt very comfortable throughout the morning’s tour, and even my butt cheeks were not in a perpetual state of being clenched as we drove through the overcrowded streets -- I must be getting used to the city!

Our first stop was Lac Anosy which I had seen from various vantage points throughout Tana (and you can see in the photo near the stadium). The Monument aux Morts (Monument to the Dead) is in the centre of the lake and is a WWI memorial erected by the French.

From afar, the area looks quite beautiful and tranquil. In reality, it is a veritable garbage dump despite having about 30 workers cleaning up the area the day I visited. It is a very polluted lake and everyone advises not to buy fish that have been caught there – o.k., you don’t have to tell me twice...let's hope the restaurants got the same message.

The monument is also in poor shape, but it turned out to be a wonderful visit as I came across several boys who loved to have their pictures taken, and willingly posed for me. Some of the children were picking up garbage, and it was sad to know their lives would probably remain the same as they grew older.

We also visited the flower and fruit markets – an amazing oasis of beauty amidst the slums. The colors, fragrance and beauty of these markets were a site to behold. I bought some flowers for Vlama to give to his wife, so later in the morning we dropped by her work at a beauty shop to give them to her (I encouraged him to take credit for buying them - but he fessed up that I bought them - she was very appreciative). Their 6 month old baby was also there, and as you can see, she is a beautiful little girl.

Below: The Hotel du Louvre is in Haute-Ville (Upper Town) and a very steep set of stairs leads to Basse-Ville (Lower Town). The staircase just teems with tourists (although not a lot of tourists hang out in Tana for very long), locals, beggars and vendors. I walked up the stairs on Sunday and was put to shame for my lack of stamina as a woman carrying a large child on her back kept up to me step for step. I love the old buildings, and the train station (below middle photo) reminds me of those seen in Europe.
Vlama also took me to down Avenue d’Independence (above photo with flags) where there is an abundance of stores but it is more notoriously known for black market trading in currency, cell phones, and who knows what else. Before you get excited, these guys didn't bother us at all - just a real brief whistle to get our attention, we shook our heads no, and that was that.

Cow lips are still being elusive, but maybe when Roger comes on Friday we’ll hit a couple more markets. We go on our actual holiday next week - in the process of booking a safari for 3 days and then we will visit Cape Town. I think the holiday will make the last month seem like childbirth --- painful, but the end result is worth it!

1 comment:

New Fusion said...

This is a very nicely laid out blog, something to learn from in my case. I have always wanted to know more about Madagascar, since flying over the Island a couple of times.

South Africa is a great place to visit.I will gladly share my knowledge with you bloggers.