Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

Silly Sunday: what a legend

Yesterday I shared about my most excellent scooter Buttercup and what a blessing she is to me. While I was writing it I was reminded of my friend Anri-Louise (who I introduced to you here a few weeks ago) and her scooter experiences in Antananarivo (which are much more colourful than mine!)

Her first scooter was bought second-hand, like mine, and was even more of a dud (than mine). I borrowed it once, broke down, and had to push it up hills and down dales home with much muttering and cursing under my breath … After returning it to the shop for the umpteenth time, finally she decided to complain to management.

Anri: “The scooter you sold me keeps breaking.”
Shop owner: “Yes, it’s because you are fat.”
Anri: (after a contemplative pause) “But I am sure I weigh the same, or LESS than 3 Malagasies, and 3 Malagasies can easily ride together on a scooter without it breaking.”
Shop owner: “Yes, but it is a more even distribution of weight!”

There you have it. You need to be thick-skinned to live in a place like this!

Even distribution of weight

Even distribution of weight

After those experiences with second-hand scooters she has now decided to buy brand new ones (and she has a fleet of four for her Occupational Therapy business.) Earlier this year she was riding home from town and found the passers-by and pedestrians to be way more friendly than usual. As much as they waved and pointed, she would wave back smiling, with a happy “hello,” thinking what a delightful day it was. Until one bus passenger stuck his head out the window, pointed wildly and shouted, “your scooter is on fire!”

Way too calmly, for that sort of news, she turned around to see the grass mat which she had tied to the back seat had slipped slightly and was chafing against the back wheel. Who knows how long it had taken for the friction to set it alight, but there it was, billowing smoke off the back of the scooter. After screeching to a halt at the side of the road, she thought she would just let it burn out but then thought again – it was over the fuel tank and, by the smell, was beginning to melt the tyre (or the seat).

Disgusted that she had lost a perfectly good mat, she flung it to the ground, thinking how the day clearly wasn’t as delightful as she first imagined. Just then a gust of wind grabbed at the mat. “Oh my goodness,” she thought, “knowing my luck it’ll blow across the road, set a house on fire and I’ll be the cause of a whole community burning down.”

The result: for years to come people will be speaking about the crazy vazaha be (large foreigner) jumping up and down like a lunatic on a smoking mat at the side of the road.

I give you Anri-Louise, a figure who is sure to go down in Malagasy folklore.

A vazaha be on her scooter.

A legend on her scooter.


2 comments on “Silly Sunday: what a legend

  1. Donna
    March 8, 2015

    Hilarious episode

  2. Bianca
    March 8, 2015

    That’s Aunty Anri all right. One of the many things that makes us all like her.

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This entry was posted on March 8, 2015 by in Humour, Silly Sunday and tagged , , , , .
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