tana : 1st ed

Seven Snaps ● that are my favourites from walking around Antananarivo in 2017.

08Jan πŸŒ Kicking-off with the out-of-towners, most of whom get up well before the crack of dawn (I'm talking 2-3am) to jump on a taxi-brousse (vans with windows that we call local buses) into the bright lights of the big city: Antananarivo (aka Tana). In an economy like that of Madagascar, true hustlers exist - because if you are an ounce of lazy, you're out of the game before it's even started. True hustlers are the most creative, persuasive, and driven of Madagascar's working folk. This "stall" is literally made up of some big sticks, cloth, and umbrellas. You got that shade - protect your goods, protect yourself - so all you need to do is sell sell sell. This particular crew of hustlers were selling bananas and jackfruit (aka whatever is in season), setting themselves up on an empty field next to the start of the "motorway" - i.e. when you're on your way out of Tana, they are there, ready, with the snacks for the road ahead. That is top-notch entrepreneurship right there.

08Jan πŸ“ Big crowds usually mean big tings are going down. We were on our way to the supermarket and I spotted this little get-together. Obviously, I told mum to stop the car so I could try and see. Well, I saw squat. The reason being this was a cockfighting competition (FYI illegal in the UK and many countries - but for some reason still exists in Madagascar). I actually hate this "sport" - it's not a sport, it's animal torture - but it's popular here because it's relatively cheap to set up and it involves gambling. When you don't have that much money and a lot of time on your hands, then sadly this is your "entertainment". Seeing these people engrossed just trigger two thoughts in my brain: 1● Roots which if you've not seen, you should - it's the story of a slave called Kunta Kinte who was taken from Africa to America and then what happened to him and his descendants up until slavery was abolished. One of his descendants became famously known as Chicken George who was a favourite amongst "toubobs" because he was a masterful cockfighter. 2● Bio-dad because he used to take me as a little girl... which, I probs would not recommend. LOL.

07Jan 🍚 some countries eat everything with potato, some with noodles, some with bread... and then there's rice central (close in likeness to a lot of Asia and Africa): Madagascar. Little shops like this one can be found anywhere and everywhere. They're like the Maccy D's or Starbucks of Madagascar. Why? Because everyone eats rice. People eat rice in the morning (warm and soupy and delicious), people eat rice for lunch (topped with something tasty of course), and people eat rice in the evening. Rice, rice, rice, rice, rice. Is very nice. None of us can get enough of it.

07●Jan 🌽 I love any excuse to stop and eat. Stalls like these can be found along all main roads, trying to lure tourists and locals alike. As before, it's always whatever is in season, and in abundance (clearly). This is one of my favourite stops because it always has at least ten hustlers, all selling the same things, so they call out at you and try to stand out by either boiling, grilling, or making the corn into sweet patties wrapped in banana leaf. I looovvveeee it. Sometimes they even come straight up to your window so you can buy from your car window - DRIVE THRU HUSTLING or what.

07●Jan 🍍 And for desserttt, oh hello Mr and Mrs Pineapple - the royalty of all fruit. I mean I could skip the corn and go straight for the pineapple but that would just be rude, ya know? Also, because this is Madagascar and not Tesco, you can always try before you buy so all of the pineapple juices and tastiness in my mouth. Winning.

07●Jan πŸ„ Despite what the last few pictures have shown, people in Madagascar do also buy food from inside buildings. Such buildings include this little guy, which you would only know about if you know. Off the side of a little restaurant is a path which leads to a little cheese house. And in that mini cheese house is this badass little lady who will offer you three types of cheeses (cows, goats, and sheeps), natural yoghurt, and she can even fill up your bottles with milk (you have to pay obviously). What a legendairy hustler.

30●Dec πŸ” Technically not in 2017 but two days out so whatevs yeah. This is our local market, just down the road, by the bridge. You know, that bridge, that everyone seems to know. Here, you can shop for anything and everything - from fresh fruit and veg, to spices, to duck and chicken (live of course), beauty products, and clothes. Whatever your needs, this bridge market's got you. On this particular visit, we were on the hunt for pineapples (yes more), lychee, ginger, and limes, so that we could infuse more of that good good Malagasy Dzama rum to bring in 2017. Ideal.

See y'all soon! πŸ™†


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