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August 4, 2003
|Hitching is easy in Madagascar; the people are friendly enough to stop and it's a part of their culture that every vehicle is a possible taxi. We shouldn't take for granted the friendliness and laid back atmosphere. It's easy to walk thru the streets without feeling self conscious about being a tourist, or being too hassled, and we don't feel threatened by stares or the possibility of street crime. Many towns are pleasant places to stroll. Walk into a restaurant or bar and converse with locals.|
Hitching a ride back to town from the outskirts of Ranamofana National Park.
This daily log mentions Madagascar's roads so much because we spend so much time navigating them. Besides the mud, potholes, and rambling-wreck vehicles, the people themselves contribute to the tortoise pace. (one thing to note about Malagasy, they don't drive dangerously or aggressively). Our taxi brousse, which we shared with at least 12 other people, all crammed into a the back of a mini-van, pulled over many times on our all day journey to cover a mere 200 kilometers. One instance couldn't be helped: a passenger had an epileptic fit and the van pulled over to give him some breathing space. Another time we pulled over and waited for a girl to run to her village (several fields away from the road) to fetch money for the bus fare - she returned empty handed.