Madagascar. Halfway between Antanarive and Andasibe on the RN2, in a rural area where rice rice fields, hotelys and roadside stalls are common place, lies the established town of Moramango.
Moramango, which literally translates to ‘cheap mangoes’, has seen much growth in the past years as a result of the Ambatovy nickel and cobalt mines. This is the also the halfway stop for taxis and buses between Tana and Toamasina, where many switch transport to their chosen destination. There is a palpable energy here, both night and day.
Houses, restaurants, hotelys (hostels offering meals) and private homes. I much appreciated the simple style of the buildings and the bright colours, blues and greens that enhanced them.
Then there are three wheel bike taxis to ferry market shoppers home, travellers from taxi ranks to hotelys, as well as servicing any clients needing transport. There were no other tourists in sight, but I’m sure there must be a few who welcome a scenic trip around Moramango. Look at the individual markings and decorations, number plates and personal touches.
Tomato frog. Drivers waiting for clients.
Love this. Shell looking rather quiet in a town where man made energy overrules that of gas and petrol.
Bit of pool and fuss ball to pass the time.
Market shopping is how most of Madagascar sustains itself. Fresh meat, grains, rice, chickens and ducks. Fish. Shark fin (-on no!). Reusable plastic bottles, airtime and even hairdressers.
Cassava, which is really good.
I was told that this was shark, even shark fin. Which sat very heavy with me. Of course my guide and the stand holder told me the fishermen catch and eat the whole shark, yet still they are endangered and I do wish that what came out of the ocean could be more considered. Always a tough argument, conservation and threatened fish species in an area where most people are suffering poverty.
Dried from Toamasina.
This market had a small meat section, ‘walkie-talkies’ among the offerings. Walk-talkies bring chicken lets and head. A delicacy.
Cat on the cage keeping the chickens in. Also the baskets used to carry them.
Run babies run! Live ducks for sale. And the baskets they are transported in.
This chicken had been bought and was about to become supper. In the interim he was tied to the stand to avoid his running away. I badly wanted t free him.
A child at the fish market, his mother works processing and selling the catch that comes in each day from Toamasina. I stood on his fingers by mistake, as he played in the doorway. I felt awful. He didn’t even cry. Just a calm patience about him that I tried to contract through cuddles.
This became my standard ‘padkos’ or road snack whilst road tripping in Madagascar. Coconut sweetened with sugar, just delicious. 500 ariary each. I was buying 10+ at a time and Tina and I were consuming them on the move.
Friends I make along the way. I always find myself seeking out the local cats and dogs. Especially in port countries where I can’t help but del the need to love them for a while.
The obligatory Catholic Church that seems to be found in all African towns. A symbol of colonisation, an influence from a different ‘world’.
I was road tripping with somewhere to be in the early afternoon, or I could quite happily have lingered at the market, learnt more about where the fish were sourced and taken a ride on a three wheel bike taxi. The place smacks of charm. I couldn’t be more intrigued.