Red train carriages catching the afternoon sun. Residents gathered to share the moment. Animated in their conversation. Children selling sticky donuts whilst others play on the tracks. I photograph the atmospheric scene, limited to only warm smiles, locked into my English in a place where even basic French would award me a dialogue.
I’m told by my guide that the passenger train stops here three times a week and always draws a crowd. I wonder if it felt the same on the days Gerald Durrell, Prince Phillip and David Attenborough arrived to visit the Park. Distinguished guests, naturalists welcomed to Andasibe.
Tina and I spent at least an hour here, people watching. Having something to eat. He translated as I spoke to a group of woman who admired my simple sandals, reminding me that ‘shoes’ was a common language for woman, no matter where in the world.
Waiting for a train takes on a new meaning. The train wouldn’t take me anywhere, yet it was transporting me to a different era. One when the pace was slower and time had the luxury of standing still.
I could have lingered indefinitely. Feeling deep inside that I belonged in this Naturalist’s Promised Land.
** Read more about my visits to Madagascar.