My time in Tana was short and sweet, and even though I didn’t see that much of the city, it was enough to get a glimpse. Arriving in Toliara, or Tuléar by its French name, I enter a different world: It’s not only the heat, as compared to the highlands, or the proximity of the sea. Toliara, with its few main roads, the omni-present “pousse-pousse” (rickshaws) and its very modest traffic immediately presents itself from a much more laid-back side than the capital. This also means that I am, as a white person, a veritable attraction, as marked by the many people hollering and staring at me.
We do courtesy calls to the local authorities; after the 4th or 5th hand I have shaken, I lose track of who we are seeing at a given moment, and opt for simply nodding and smiling.
In the evening in my lovely studio apartment, I get acquainted with all my new pets. So far, I have met: the 2 geckos, the giant spider that lives under the toilet, and the cockroach, which I gently complement out of the door. Sorry, darling. And: moscitos are not considered pets.