Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tana: the land of rice and taxis

Tana is an interesting place—the largest urban center in Madagascar and the political, economic and industrial capital of the country. About 1.7 to 3 million people live here, most of them perched in small houses on the hillsides. The flat valleys are reserved for rice production, right smack in the middle of town.

Tana is fairly spread out, so it’s best to take a taxi if you need to go to the downtown area. I love walking around the city, checking out different streets along the way, but I think saving my lungs from sucking down fumes will be worth it in the long run. The town is overrun with taxis so you never have to wait long. And no taxi ride is the same—on several of them now my driver has asked for my fare early so that he could fill up with just enough gas to get to our destination. That usually ends up being about 2000 Ariary, or about a $1.30. Gas (or l’essence, as I’m learning) is pricey here—about $8 - $10 a gallon, which makes our $4 a gallon hike in the US seem measly. Most of the taxi drivers have taken to popping their old puttering Peugots into neutral down the steep hills of town to save gas. Never a dull moment, I tell you.

Last night I met 3 American researchers on a countrywide quest to find the blind, un-pigmented, cave-dwelling fish that live only in Madagascar. I felt rather run of the mill with my lemurs!


KL Bates said...

VIDEO! Awesome, Meredith. Keep 'em coming!

Dory said...

It sounds like you are off to a good start! I really like your blog design- fun and functional! I can't wait to keep reading about your adventure!

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