Ino Vaovao?
· 16 October 2006 ·

Salam o namana! Qu`est-ce qui se passe? Infuckingcredible! Finally, a place where it is perfectly acceptable to pick your nose in public. So it’s true, water does spin the other way in the southern hemisphere.

So ther I am walking down the only road (strewn with massive potholes) that cuts through the country side. This road has a small market set up on one side of it for a short stretch of the way. It begins to rain and within moments it starts pouring down in heavy warm sheets. So I dodge into the nearest shelter I can find. This shelter is the only roof for several hundred meters. This shelter is also occupied by everyone else escaping the onslaught of rain that is cimming down in pacific northwest proportions. In addition, this shelter is also occupied by a shitload of raw meat, mostly zebu. For those of you who do not know what zebu is, it is similar to a longhorn steer except in that it has a lump of fat that towers out from it’s neck and juggles in a most hypnotic manner when the beast lumbers across the country side. So there I am, standing in the local butcher shop, hiding rom the impending storm with seventy local malagasy and a good couple tons of raw zebu flesh that is dangling about in a comical manner. Did I mention there was a language barrier? Wait no, it was a language wall of china (malagasy?) or better yet deep and wide language ocean in which I was adrift in the tinniest of life rafts. This was the moment when I truley realized where I was. I laughed to myself manically. I was enjoying every minute of it.

My malagasy slanguage skills have impoved ever so slightly in the six weeks that have passed since this curious incident. It also took alot to wipe the shit eating grin off my face that i had incurred when the plane first touched down in Antananarivo. Yes I believe it was my encounter with the police that did it. My god what a terrible terrible feeling I never wish to be bestowed on anyone. It’s the feeling of helplessness but in wretched proportions. It’s the feeling of “Shit! I’m going to jail in a third world country! I don’t have anyone to call! I didn’t even do anything wrong! Shit!” Rest assured I avoided going to jail. Thank you Jesus.

So they have this wonderful beer here called Three Horses Beer. As a matter of fact it’s the only beer here in madagascar, it’s a pilsner, it only comes in pints (Sheaf sized pints mind you) and it’s owned by cocacola, just like every other beverage in this country. Anyone for a game of monopoly?

I am enjoying the nature very much here. I spend quite a bit of time in it. There are these crazy environments calles spiny forests that are unlike anything I have ever seen. Now I would have just called them desertsas they are incredibly hot, dry, and full of sharp and pointy succulent plants. But, apparenty there is only one true cactus that is natve to madagacar so they do not consititute a desert. The rainforests are also exciting, granted I had never before seen a rainforest other than the temperate rainforest of the olympic peninsula. On this one hike that I went on I exclaimed to some friends “Ces sangsuces sont sans cesser!” They all laughed…because they knew it was true, their legsbloody and studdeed with the little fuckers.

I recently spent a week in a little rural village called
Antsaboamasy. Let me describe this place; hot, sandy, dry, windy, drought, famine conditions. I ate ny betampy sy ny bageda (sea snails and sweet potatoes) with the occasional side of rice or corn. This place was nothing short of amazing. Everyday I went to the ocean and snorkeled in the reef looking for betampy qnd other sea creatures to eat. And at night the whole village would turn out to dance and play music for hours and hours and hours and hours….........and hours.

So as I write this I am in the capital which is ridiculously tiny for a capital and the largest city in thez country. Alright I am heading back out into the bush in a couple of days. Here is a description of Fort Dauphin, the little town where I stayed for several weeks:

Bronze palm fronds freeze in the breeze
On dead red earth that struggles to give birth
Against a new pale blue with speckled white flreckles
With the odor of the ocean that is salt in motion
To the sound all around of a laid back town

Peace my friends wherver you maybe

Written by Rich Halvorsen


  1. patrick    Oct 16, 01:17 PM    #