29 juin 2015


                      I've been fascinated by the mangrove since I arrived in Mayotte. The mangrove goes pretty much all round the island. From most points on the coast, you can either see it or smell it, or both. Mangrove trees are salt tolerant, and they have an very simple way of coping with the salt they're immersed in all day: they're mostly impermeable to the stuff, so it doesn't get much farther than the tree root. They also limit the amount of water lost from... [Lire la suite]

15 septembre 2014

Cats and Miss.

             School's been back for three weeks now. I've met all my classes, and there's everything from sweetness and light to ear-splitting caterwauling in there. These are some photos of my school. Right at the top is the tropical almond (Terminalia Catappa, if you're interested) tree. Everything happens under that tree. That's where the kids line up to be taken to their next lesson, that's where they go when the fire alarm rings, and that's where the parent-teacher meetings begin... [Lire la suite]
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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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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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31 mars 2014


                 The weather was pretty grotty this weekend, so I haven't been out much. In fact, Mayotte was placed under "strong rain warning" on Thursday evening, because a depression was forming in the Mozambique channel, along the coast of Mozambique.  On Saturday morning, the depression turned into a tropical storm and was christened Hellen. Strong winds and rather a lot of rain came thundering down on the north-eastern side of the island, causing trees to topple over... [Lire la suite]
10 juin 2013

Manta rays and Mangroves

                  Last Sunday, I went on a boat trip with the Association of Bretons of Mayotte. They're the ones I play music with, they organize an activity every month so I try to go along when I can to get out of the house and to talk with people over four feet tall who don't talk back. This month's activity was a boat trip into the lagoon, the idea being to go and watch the dolphins and to see if we could find a manta ray. The rays come into the lagoon in March and stay... [Lire la suite]
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25 février 2013

Pretty Yellow Flowers

          Yesterday, I went with the association I play music for to a farming establishment which I'd heard about before, because one of the owners has a stall at the big monthly market where she sells fruit, vegetables, juice, jam, ylang-ylang essential oil and vanilla. She's married to a Mahorese man named Fouadi, and they cultivate everything they sell. Every Sunday, they organise visits of the farm, where you can come and see how they cultivate and distil the ylang-ylang flowers to obtain essential oil... [Lire la suite]
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30 juillet 2012

It's cold outside.

                          Winter has arrived, the shortest day of the year has come and gone, and it's getting cold outside. This said, being Mayotte, cold is an entirely relative notion. We're not talking sub-zero temperatures and snow. We're talking twenty-five degrees, cool winds and going to the beach in a t-shirt rather than a swimming costume.                 The days are slightly longer now, and the trees... [Lire la suite]
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10 janvier 2012

Happy New Year to all

            P and I spent Christmas and New Year with my favourite people this year. When I got back, I was invited to a friend’s birthday party, where I was informed that I must be crazy to voluntarily spend any length of time in such a cold place when I live in such a warm place. Go back in the summer, by all means, they said, but not in the winter. I actually liked it though. First of all, seeing the family. Secondly, fetching and buying things in France and England in... [Lire la suite]