It is the capital of Madagascar which is a mix of Africa and Asia…you can find there every kind of markets, taxi drivers, vendors, beggars…they sell whatever you want fruits, sunglasses, animals, flowers, mobile phones, every kind of meat (tongues, tails, etc..), electronic products…
I was in Madagascar!!! I didn’t have the possibility to read and study before leaving so I didn’t know a lot about this country except the fact that there was a coup in march. I began to remind myself how lucky I was to have the opportunity to travel, but when I arrived suddenly I run smack back into the African mentality that everything will be alright regardless of how fast things get done (but it was ok, it’s also my mentality).
Once through the border control I was swarmed by about four guys offering me cabs, money exchange (despite there being banks in the ‘airport’), weed, and extensive tours of the island. I started practicing my few words in French with perfecting “no Merci” and quickly realized that this phrase will be beaten over the head by the time this trip was done.
I changed money and felt like a millionaire with the huge amount of bills that I got in exchange for. You need a bag to take all ariarys with you…the lady was shocked to discover that I could count that high ☺. On the Island it’s a little bit complicated to retrieve money especially if you want to visit remote places so I changed a lot. I picked the least obnoxious cab driver to take me to the hostel and he asked for 50,000 for the ride (20 euros).
As a result of my propensity to bargain, I inquire as to why it is so much (I heard it was really cheap here) and he starts to tell me that the price of the petrol is increasing day by day. I pointed out that the trip should only be 25,000. I think about really punching him this time, but then I saw the taxi and I realized it was a good price for both…
The drive was eye-opening as I could see the level of poverty that was prevalent there. I put my stuff down in my room and quickly left to explore the city and figured out what I was going to do while I was there. I was once again swarmed by guys trying to sell me maps, magazines, newspapers, vanilla sticks, marijuana, and tours and I used my now patented phrase “no merci” about 100 times.
Antananarivo, Tana for friends, is large but spread out and the downtown is very small and extremely run down…bustling street markets, everywhere, and the streets were packed with people. I quickly realize that I was the only white person around and apparently that made it quite alright for little kids, mothers and young men alike to harass me for money and/or offer me various things I don’t want ☺).
We spent an interesting night at Le Glacier, it is a place where you can listen Malagasy music but also reggae…it’s one of the most popular live club in Tana so it’s full of prostitutes…By the time you got your drinks there will be at least three girls surrounding you asking you questions but that they all want you to take them back to your hotel room and pay for sex. They have a lot of clients…anyway we enjoyed the atmosphere… Maybe you will be scared of this chaotic town, but to understand this unique town (on the island you will not find the same urban concentration) you have to stop at least three days to see the old town and all different eclectic markets.