Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

Of precipitation, potholes and pottering along on a lemon

I’ve been in Antananarivo, Madagascar for almost two weeks now. A few observations:

Firstly, as is typical of Madagascar, the capital seems to have been stuck in a time warp: everything appears much the same, but with minor differences. It seems as poor as ever, and yet there is some development: more little roadside stalls, construction aplenty, and a once-again thriving textile industry.

The rainy season, which I’ve experienced often, is on steroids. I arrived shortly after the last of several cyclones to hit the island had dissipated, but that doesn’t mean it’s been dry. We’ve had rain in varying degrees every day, mostly lots of it quickly – leaving rice paddies flooded more than usual, people’s yards under water and giant potholes gouged out of many of the roads.

A young Belgian staying at the same guest house as me took his first taxi ride back from town last week and arrived home looking completely haggard. The 10 kilometre trip had taken close to two hours – the city completely gridlocked because of both the rain and the potholes.

“Never again,” the soaked, exhausted traveller told me. “The traffic was jammed all the way; the taxi I was in kept overheating and dying. Every time it would stop, the driver would have to jump out, open the front and hotwire it … I thought I’d stay out of the rain by taking a taxi but it leaked so badly there was as much water inside as outside. I’m walking everywhere from now on!”

I’m sure he will change his mind once the memory of the traumatic trip fades, but I must admit, I feel the same way about getting stuck in traffic. I hate it. On my first weekend back in town I borrowed a car to go and meet someone for lunch. That was 4.5km from home and took me an hour. For once it wasn’t raining, which meant it was stiflingly hot; rivulets of sweat were coursing down my arms and dripping from my finger tips. My shorts were so soaked it looked as if I’d been for a quick swim.  (Don’t tell the people I borrowed the car from. That’s just gross.)

The alternative for me, of course, is to ride my yellow scooter (which I am calling Buttercup when she works and The Lemon when she gives problems – which is most of the time). She’s nippy but I’ve got soaked in downpours more often than I’ve had hot breakfasts. Time to invest in rain gear!

Word on the street is that the French government has given aid to help repair and build roads, but no-one seems too confident of anything changing soon. And the constant rain just seems to wash away any repairs as they are made.

My weather app tells me we are experiencing a “light drizzle” and can expect a few millimetres of rain today. By the sound of the hectic storm pelting the tin roof over my head, I’d say we had an inch in the last ten minutes. This is Madagascar.

(These photos were mostly shot from the car travelling between Talatamaty and the Digue Road. A few were shot from the roadside.)

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One comment on “Of precipitation, potholes and pottering along on a lemon

  1. LaBelleza
    February 25, 2015

    10 and 11 – Love the views. Madagascar is colourful!

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This entry was posted on February 25, 2015 by in Madagascar, Travel and tagged , , , , , .
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