10 juillet 2015

Pamandzi

                  On my last day in Mayotte, I returned the flat keys in the morning, then went to see the man who was buying the car from me. When he had come to my flat to test-drive the car, he had brought a young mechanic with him, and hadn't actually driven the car at all. Today, he asked to drive the car round the block, and exclaimed vigourously at each noise or unusual movement in the car, such as the gear stick which was slightly loose. He then walked round the car and... [Lire la suite]
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01 juin 2015

Nanny, you probably don't want to know what I did last weekend.

             I recently had a couple of acquaintances over. The sort of people who'll give you absolutely no news for a year or so, then suddenly pop up out of the blue saying that they've bought plane tickets to Mayotte and can I put them up. They'd timed their visit to be here at the same time as a friend of theirs, a hiking guide on tour in Mayotte at the time, so they were off with him most of the time, which was fine as far as I was concerned. They didn't have anything planned for the... [Lire la suite]
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22 décembre 2014

It's a beautiful place, really.

                 There have been a couple of rather pretty-pretty series of photos of Mayotte around recently. Two projects, in fact. The first was the Vanilla Islands project: an effort to put forward Mayotte, Reunion and the Seychelles on the touristic scene. We did actually have a visit from a cruise-boat full of American tourists. The photos of their arrival were all over the newspapers, so exceptional was this. No more news filtered out, so we never learnt what happened to... [Lire la suite]
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27 octobre 2014

Ngazidja

        "Salam aleikoum." "Aleikoum salam. Gawamnono?" "Ndjema, hamdulillah!"   I've just got back from a week's holiday in Ngazidja, the largest of the four Comoros islands. They are known as Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Mohéli), Ndzuani (Anjouan) and Maoré (Mayotte). The last one is the subject of quite a lot of debate, as Mayotte belongs geographically to the Comoros archipel, but is administratively claimed by France. The Mahorese have taken this opportunity to lord it over the other... [Lire la suite]
18 août 2014

Réunion mon amour, part 2 of 2.

                                      We spent a total of four days and three nights in Mafate. There are no roads, the area is only accessible on foot or by helicopter. The name comes from a wizard who used to live in the cirque, and whose speciality was killing people, using just a piece of the person's hair to enchant them. It's all up and down in there: we went down to the river twice, then right back up to the top... [Lire la suite]
11 août 2014

Réunion mon amour, part 1 of 2.

               The original plan for July's holiday was a safari in Tanzania. That fell through because it turned out to be extremely expensive and rather difficult to organize. Plan B was a trip to South Africa with P, visiting Johannesburg, Kruger National Park and hopefully the Drakensburg mountains. No luck there either, as P changed his mind and cancelled the tickets at the last minute. So I looked around for something interesting to do, and found a cheapish plane ticket to Reunion... [Lire la suite]

14 juillet 2014

Hiking around Saziley

          Sunday was a rather hectic day. First, it was the day two of the musicians from the Blue Mango were leaving Mayotte, one forever, the other for a holiday. The one who was leaving forever hadn't been able to come to our last going-away party and I had a present for her, so that needed delivering. The one who was going back to France on holiday knew I was going to Madagascar again in August and wanted me to deliver a package to his wife's nephew in Antsirabe, south of Antananarivo. The... [Lire la suite]
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21 avril 2014

Strange food they have here.

         These are banana flowers. They grow on the ends of big banana bunches like below. You have a hundred or so bananas spiralling downwards, and a big purple flower on the end. Lots of people eat yellow bananas. Here, green bananas are a vegetable like any other, and a cheap one at that, as most people have a banana plant somewhere nearby. Green bananas are eaten fried, they're very filling but don't taste of much. A pain to peel, too. I learnt the other day that you could eat the flowers. There's a... [Lire la suite]
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03 juin 2013

Mahoraid

                    On Pentecost week-end, like last year, all of the sailing boats in Mayotte who wished could embark on a tour of the island. My musician friend Franck, who owns and lives on a sailing boat, wished. He took a few of his friends and me on his boat with him, and we spent three nice days trying to get enough wind into our sails to actually go forward instead of nowhere. Good fun.                       We... [Lire la suite]
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06 mai 2013

Salama Djema

             Mayotte is made up of two main islands, Grande-Terre and Petite-Terre. Between the two islands, the only means of transport is the ferry, known as the barge. There's even a verb for it: barger. Barging costs 75 centimes for a pedestrian, 2€ for a 50cc scooter, 4€ for a motorbike or scooter 125cc or above and 15€ for a car. You can buy books of ten tickets slightly cheaper, for example 7€ for ten pedestrian tickets. Some people live on one island and work on the other, some people... [Lire la suite]
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