23 février 2015

N'Gouja, probably for the last time.

                                   It's the holidays next week, so this weekend was really the last one before the holidays on which to go to the beach. I don't go that often - not really interested in lying around in the heat, and not bothered about salty water and small fish - but H loves the beach, and I'd promised to bring him back some sand from his favourite beach in Mayotte. So I rang up a colleague who... [Lire la suite]

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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29 mai 2014

Super-Car

           There are lots of cars in Mayotte, many more than the roads can provide for in terms of capacity and maintenance. But one is above all. One car to rule them all. One car to find them. One car to bring them all and in the potholes bind them. In the land of Mayotte where the flags and doll-heads lie.                          Apparently a long time ago, before most of the ornaments were added. Still worth remarking he... [Lire la suite]
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19 mai 2014

Repoblikan'i Madagasikara : a visiting vazaha.

                   Just spent a week in Madagascar, and absolutely fell in love with the place. It's beautiful. It started off with a rather strange idea of going to Antsiranana - more pronounceably known as Diego Suarez - to learn to kitesurf. One of those all-inclusive holidays where you have a bed, food and kitesurfing lessons all rolled into one package, and they even send a taxi to fetch you at the airport. The airline company for Madagascar is Air Madagascar.... [Lire la suite]

16 décembre 2013

Idiots

           I read an article the other day which began like this : "When you’re driving, everybody else on the road is an idiot and it’s your job to watch out". In Mayotte, driving is more than just a daily occurrence aiming to get a person from point A to point B. It's a full-on, head-to-head, protect-your-teeth rugby match. Everybody else (who shall be termed from now on "the idiots") isn't necessarily aggressive. They don't particularly want to push you off the road or to smash into you, but... [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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15 mars 2012

Stuck in the Mud

            There has been so much rain lately that it has severely damaged the road leading down from our flat. Great holes, some up to 50cm in depth, have appeared in the road... which has already blocked more than one car from going up. We had a collection day with the neighbours last week, where we all went a bit further up the road to a stony field, brought some large stones and pieces of roof-tile down and filled up the worst of the holes. The following photos show... [Lire la suite]
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19 février 2012

Mahabou and M'Gombani

          This Sunday afternoon was lovely and fine, so we set off to walk up and around the Pointe Mahabou, a cliff on the other side of Mamoudzou where the very first sultan of Mayotte, Adriansouli, was buried. Other cars were driving up, so I started driving up too, then got shouted at because P wanted to walk up and didn’t see any point in giving the car a workout. Drove back down again, parked at the bottom, got out of the car and P started shrieking. One of the back tyres was half flat.... [Lire la suite]
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