11 juillet 2015

Kwahéri Maoré

          When I arrived at my Mahorese school, I met several teachers who were in their last year in Mayotte. And universally, they told me that when you're in your last year, you're already at your destination in your mind. One, named Henri Denglades, was going back to his native French Guyana at the end of that school year. From September until the end of the year, he was mentally already there, thinking about how he would see his family again and reclaim his house. Every month of his last school year,... [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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04 septembre 2014

The Malagasy Highway Code

The Malagasy Highway Code for Motorbikers           When you see a lorry coming your way, take a big breath and hold it. It's going to stink.         A full helmet is great for safety if you fall and hit your head, but it does mean you can't scratch your ears.              Even after 1500 kilometres of practice, you still can't scratch your ears. Stop trying, you're in the middle of the road.          You'll... [Lire la suite]
01 septembre 2014

Alefa Madagascar! Part 2 of 2.

          The starting point of anything Malagasy is Antananarivo, the capital city, generally shortened to Tana. It's bang in the centre of Madagascar, and it's where all the planes go to and come from. So, logically, this was the starting point of my adventure. It's also the only place in Madagascar where you can rent a motorbike (or any other vehicle, for that matter). I started off down the RN7, which is the best-known and best-maintained road in Madagascar. It's tarred pretty much all the way down,... [Lire la suite]
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25 août 2014

Alefa Madagascar! Part 1 of 2.

           I enjoyed hiking in Reunion Island and liked the country very much, it has an interesting history and it's extremely beautiful. However, I don't think I'll be back, unless I can manage to get a transfer to live and work there. Madagascar, though, was a different kettle of fish. I fell in love with the place when I went there for the first time in May this year, to the point that the day after I got back, I had already booked my next flight to Antananarivo. The first time had been a... [Lire la suite]
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01 octobre 2012

The Motorbike Saga Ends Here.

            Good morning. Just to say that I passed my motorbike licence last Wednesday. It's a test which is in two parts, half on a quiet track, half on the road. On the track, we had to manoeuvre the bike around cones and sticks, first very slowly around cones which were close together, then a faster slalom over a hundred metres or so. On the road, we had to prove that we could drive the thing carefully and safely. We spent most of the allocated twenty-five minutes in the Mamoudzou traffic jams,... [Lire la suite]
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22 février 2012

The Motorbike Saga Continues

                I've had fifteen hours of motorbike lessons so far, and have reached the stage where I'm working hard at it and not feeling I'm actually getting anywhere. There's a circuit you have to do for the test at a very slow speed, as you have to drive through "doors" made of traffic cones and sticks without tipping anything over or putting your feet on the ground. As I can't do that yet, the instructor got me trying to learn to accelerate when the... [Lire la suite]
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11 décembre 2011

Christmas Market - R.I.P.

         Two hours later, I went to the driving school for two hours of motorbike lessons. It had already started drizzling, so the monitor told two of us that we had better come back another day as the rain looked like holding. It's OK to learn to drive in the rain - especially here, we're going to need to know how to do that - but a soaked track when you're just starting and can't really balance properly yet is not the best idea. Ten minutes later, we heard a huge clap of thunder and the... [Lire la suite]
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19 novembre 2011

The Motorbike Saga Begins

        First motorbike lesson today, called an evaluation lesson. First, the monitor sat two of us down and talked us through why we wanted to drive a motorbike, what were the pros and cons, what protective material we needed and what the exam was like. I now know that I’ll need to buy a motorbike jacket with good shoulder, elbow and back protection, as well as a pair of boots and a pair of gloves. I’ll buy those in France this December, they’re very expensive here. The monitor said that plenty... [Lire la suite]
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16 novembre 2011

The English girl and the Motorbike

I wonder if Papi remembers teaching me to drive...        31.10.2011 The driving-school instructor who taught me how to ride a scooter had asked me for English lessons, so I gave him his first lesson this evening. In return, instead of payment, he is going to teach me to ride a 600cc motorbike so that I can take my motorbike test. I spent all evening wondering what I had just done by agreeing to that, but I’m looking forward to it actually, it should be fun. I started from nothing when learning to... [Lire la suite]
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