Postcard from Madagascar

Katriona Lewis - in Tulear

A thousand kilometres from the capital city of Antananarivo and we are beached. It is whispered that the great winds of Fanele and Eric are rallying to keep us locked in the town of Tulear where foundations sink lower than bamboo and cement binds bricks.

The Route National 7's rolling road south has dumped us like riders at the end of a conveyor belt in a pile of other vazahas (the local term for a foreigner, normally a White person). We are the ones whose stomachs won't allow us to lick the sweet peaches sold on the side of this road, the kind which came to outsmart chameleons.

In the skies before landing a man said:  "I want to find magic." Perhaps he was awoken in sunlight by church bells and the singing at Antsirabe three Sundays ago or maybe he spied lemurs dancing in the trees of Ranohira. But now, past the smiles and sapphire sky, we are huddled around a typical travellers table.

Air Madagascar sent us a message just as we tried to leave, again. A change in the breeze will hold us here tonight. And, while children dance freely in the mist kicking at sheets of rain, we will taste President Ravalomanana's vanilla yoghurts once more.

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