Quick note: I had no internet access for a little while, but never fear, I stockpiled blog posts during that time. I’m posting them after the fact so bear with me on the weird timing.



Although it wasn’t a reporting week, Savanna and I decided to go away again this weekend since we had Friday off. We visited Fianarantsoa, Fianar for short, which is the second largest city in Madagascar after the capital, Antananarivo.

Houses crammed onto the side of the mountain in Fianar

This meant a four hour ride on a taxi brousse, which was no picnic. The comparatively blissful trip to Mananjary was clearly an anomaly because this time it was horrendous. For starters, when we got on, we were made to sit with a chicken. Whose chicken it was and why we had to babysit it I have no idea. It pecked our ankles and pooped everywhere.

It became even more apparent that this is a country that does not cater for taller people, as I couldn’t fit my legs in the ‘footwell’, so I had to curl up foetal style with my legs hovering in the air. FOR FOUR HOURS. It was also extremely crowded – at one point there were 12 people in a row with only 4 seats.

Overlooking the city


Kids playing in the street.

Anyway, once we arrived we had a fantastic time. We stayed in a really flash hotel up on a hill called La Petite Bouffe. We had actual beds (although they were about two feet too short), and a really nice bathroom. The restaurant at the hotel was also impeccable – pizza, spag bol, icecream, cake – all the western foods we’d been going without for the most part.

A pretty fancy shower – there are tiles! They are clean!
A bed fit for a king. If that king is a midget.
One of the hotel’s desserts – 2 bananas, chocolate sauce, icecream and whipped cream!

Fianar claims to have the second largest markets in the world, called the Zoma. I’m not sure if this is true, but we spent a lot of time strolling through stalls filled with second hand clothes, toys, foods, fabrics, and woven mats and baskets.

A stall at the Zoma market
I bought a mat here for about 80 cents!

The city also known for having a supermarket. That might sound weird, but Madagascar really doesn’t do shops. People buy things from street vendors, where everything is hidden away behind the counter. This makes it hard for us to see what’s actually on offer since we can’t look for ourselves, so going to the supermarket was an actual treat! We stocked up on all sorts of goodies to bring back to camp.

Can’t wait for our next weekend getaway!