Chiaroscuro of news

It is the period of ‘turning over dead people’, the famadihana. This Malagasy tradition is about getting the corpse out, transporting it around the village and then, re-burying it. I don’t know if it is linked to what I saw around the corner: a giant 4 wheel drive with a big tag ‘Super Corbillard’. (Super Hearse)

Anyway, I saw a minibus with a coffin downtown.

 

Tension is building up

 

Journalists signed a declaration this week about fighting back against the law called ‘Code de la Communication’. The Centre de Presse Malagasy held the press conference.

Street vendors also protested about the prohibition of their installations downtown. All places, usually packed, now let pavements appear.

All the population seems fed up by the current situation.

Local press warned about street riots on the 19th August and finally, the leader of the movement was arrested at home...

I was complaining about my second taxi-be but I saw worse. When I’m coming home at the end of the day, south of Lake Anosy, every time, I see a long queue of people waiting for the taxi-be (about 400 meters). I saw people pushing to get into this tiny car door (similar to my second taxi-be). In my case, in the morning, maybe people were still a bit asleep but at the end of the day, everybody is more energetic.

The murder of a young French couple is on the breaking news but even if the news is very sad, I don't think it is linked to their origin.

 

Pollution: episode 1564

 

I tried a mask. Someone offered me a mask to protect against pollution but the experience failed. I’m sweating when I’m walking and I need more air (basic principle of breathing). The mask is made of a friable substance so it is breaking up on my skin, do not let enough air coming in, so I’m choking a bit and have some vertigo.

So I’m walking mask less, offering my lungs to all gazes.

But a new data will change this routine. The Centre de Presse Malagasy lease will expire at the end of the month and we will be moved. Two places had been shortlisted: the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP), downtown, 40 minutes away from my downtown home and the University of Antananarivo, on a hill, far enough that I have to take the taxi-be. So taxi-be again if the second option is selected.

 

Antananarivo (or Malagasy) dogs nightlife

 

All canids of the capital city agree to express themselves at night. In Itaosy or downtown, barking and other forms of expression happen around 10pm and it sounds like a political debate.

They probably should talk about fantastic things to bark so long and so intensively…

Well, I’m a bit tough. Some of them live in difficult conditions: on about a meter square of a balcony. And their owners probably do not walk them.

 

Spitting

 

We spit and blow your nose between fingers left, right and centre. It is winter time and expectoration is common. The ease of spitting is a bit scary in the first place but as it is said ‘Better out than in’.

About blowing your nose between fingers, if you compare the price of a handkerchief pack to the average income.

I’m not feeling anxious anymore about feeling a splutter on my skin, getting germs and I trust 200% my immune system.

 

Shame on the system

 

Trading on expired products is disgusting. I read in newspapers an article about expired toothpaste sold in shops in here. In Australia, we shopped in Rite Price (a shop selling expired products) but there were few fresh food and more than anything, information about the concept and products was accessible to consumers.

In here, it is just revolting and degrading.

 

Night riding

 

We are rarely going out but we went out with my flatmates. Atmosphere is so much different. During the day, it is noisy and the visual landscape is aggressive and dense. At night, it is looking almost ‘empty’ from all of this. At Antananarivo, at night, everything is dark. It is chiaroscuro universe.

So when we are going into places where public lights are spaced by kilometres, waste fires looks like golden hair licking the darkness. Girls are leaning on the wall, in line, so discreet, not looking at all to be part of this sad trade of flesh.

Night riding, so new to my senses used to everyday challenges. A world where the taxi which brought us back home looked like a drunken boat on this hilly path, closer to a track, similar to the whole town.

 

Failure of countryside escape

 

We wanted to go on the countryside on the touristy Ambohimanga, away from the polluted capital city. But instead, we experienced another kind of visit.

We wanted to take a first taxi-be next to Andravoahangy market but after taking different drivers’ opinions, we moved to a different bus stop and crossed the market. It was an urban version of Itaosy market: still meat, guts and other offal dangling down but more ‘fresh’ and dried fish this time. You still had to go through narrow alleys with a pavement as regular as moon craters.

 

Alliance Française of Antananarivo’s National French Song Contest

 

I have been member of the jury for the Alliance Française of Antananarivo’s National French Song Contest selections and it was a great experience. It was the fifth edition of the contest and I had the pleasure to listen to local talents.

It was funny and a bit scary to be a member of the jury. Candidates stress was sometimes intense and we tried to be kind and relax them. I’m proud to have been part of these selections.

Semi-finals will be on the 3rd September and Regional Finals on the 10th.

Most of Malagasy people are good singers and they all love singing. My dad told me that they were probably the best musicians in the Indian Ocean.

It reminds me a taxi-be full of people probably coming back from the mess on a Sunday. Everybody was singing and it was a vocal grace. One more time, I heard a Pacific islands echo in these Malagasy songs.

 

Sport, traveller’s best friend

 

We will soon try a swimming pool with Noémie, my flatmate. Weather is still fresh and the swimming pool is not heated but we want so much swimming that we will try anyway. I’m walking everyday (twice 45 minutes) but I feel like my body wants more.

Noémie is playing futsal but I must admit that I prefer badminton or dancing. I saw a gym place downtown but I would prefer to do sport which is bringing me more than just physical effort.

I also think sport is important for balance for travellers or expats, especially during the first times. Mood is changing, weather conditions and lifestyles are different and sport can help to regulate all of these.

 

Back to radio

 

A great opportunity could open to me in the next few weeks. The Centre de Presse Malagasy could get a partnership with the University of Antananarivo. My participation as radio presenter for a program about media education is included in this partnership. The program would be broadcasted on the University radio (Radio Universitaire Ambohitsaina 107FM). It is so exciting and I cannot wait to start!

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