Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

Leaving Antananarivo

It is said that in its heyday Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, was as beautiful as any major European city, with trendy cafés lining its main Independence Avenue. In colonial times the inner city was redesigned by the island’s French rulers, who also saw sewer systems and electricity infrastructure developed. Roads were paved, tunnels were constructed through two of the city’s largest hills, rice paddies were drained and a complex system of dykes and waterways was constructed to protect the city during the rainy season.

Today, however, the city’s crumbling infrastructure, almost permanent traffic jams and mass of people on the streets is testament to the fact that it has grown way beyond its capacity – to several million at last estimation. Uncontrolled urban sprawl has seen the city spread way beyond its original city limits. Nowhere near the edge of town anymore, this sign announces that one is officially leaving Tana – as one heads towards the international airport, Ivato.

Towel seller

In fact it has become a bit of a joke around these parts. Just last week I heard one of my friends (who lives near to Ivato) telling his wife that he would let her know when he was “leaving town” on his way home so she would know when to get dinner ready..

It is the site of a regular police presence – where I have been pulled over numerous times to have my vehicle papers checked. This, along with the merging of two roads, causes a permanent traffic jam.

Of course this makes it the perfect spot for hawkers to ply their trade, as well as for street urchins to hound gridlocked commuters. Yesterday I snapped these two counting some of their earnings on the pavement. As soon as they saw me they jumped up and ran over to ask me to add to their loot.


150430 IMG_8576

This is Antananarivo. The city that frustrates me, the city that’s apparently trying to kill me, the city I love and call home.


2 comments on “Leaving Antananarivo

  1. There_Lot
    May 2, 2015

    Eish, they are a bit dirty…they should be safe from the spirits…like the perspective of the second photo

  2. Andy
    May 2, 2015


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This entry was posted on May 2, 2015 by in Madagascar, Real Life, Travel and tagged , , , .
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