A few days in Tana
Saturday i left Andasibe to regain Tana and spend a few days in the capital. The end of my journey is near, I “redoutais” the days I would have to spend in Tana. Tana is really a big city with everything that goes with it; pickpockets, insecurity, beggars, souvenir sellers and lots of people on the streets. I didn’t feel comfortable to be alone in such a big city.
On Saturday we arrived at noon in Tana, after taking a cab and finding a nice hotel in the city I had a whole afternoon left to get to know the streets. I wasn’t very excited about that but I wasn’t going to hide in my hotel room, so I got out there. I didn’t last 5 min that I was spotted by two souvenirs seller, after telling them that I wouldn’t buy anything from them they kept following me. I had to hide for at least 45 min in an Art gallery to get them to leave the front door ! I was so glad I found that gallery !! It was quite nice and it relieved me from those sellers, they had nice products and I learned something ! After that I just walked in the streets, trying to understand the city, after again 5 min a men proposed my his services as guide. He didn’t look very professional to me, so I just kept walking and of course he just kept following me. Aaaah ! Tana you are annoying, I just want to walk through the streets !!! After saying at least 100 times that I wasn’t interested he finally left me. At that moment I had no clue of where I was, and because there are no street names on the street but there are on my map I couldn’t situate my position. I knew the hotel was near but where ??
I kept walking and found another art gallery, I will start to look differently at art galleries from now on; they always pop up at the right time ! In front of the art gallery there was a little shop, it was such a nice shop I could have bought everything that was in there ! After it was already time to figure out what to eat as dinner I asked where I was to the lady and it appeared I was just a street next to my hotel ! I bought some Sambos for dinner, delicious little specialties and got back to the hotel.
The next day I was meeting Peter, a Dutch man that works in Tana and with who I had had contact before I left Europe. We met in the afternoon, I was so nice, we talked a lot about my experience in Madagascar and his work at ICCO. ICCO is a NGO that works with the communities to relaunch economical activities in the villages, provides help and food to the locals and does so much more !
He also took me to see a little bit of Tana that wasn’t secure enough for a young and alone lady like me. We met in the afternoon, in the morning I went to the tourism office to ask where were the places where it wasn’t a good idea to go on my own and other little details about Tana. After that I went to visit the Palace of the kings and queens that ruled Madagascar before the arrival of the French. Tana is highly catholic, everyone really everyone is at church on Sunday, the city was empty!
Monday was dedicated to find souvenirs ! I had planned to go from little shop to little shop through the city but it was way too crowded for that I really didn’t feel comfortable walking in the streets. So I went to a gallery (I love them now they save me every time I need it!!) And found everything I was looking for. I still had a whole afternoon left to spend in Tana and I already had done the most secure places the day before….
I went to a little park to eat lunch and there I met a lot of students that were showing an exposition to tourists, we had so much fun that I stayed with them the whole afternoon.
Tana, you surprised me , well done !
The next day, already my last day in Madagascar ( NOOOOOO ! I don’t want to leave !) In the morning I went for a walk in the streets near a lake looking for a shop that I never found, it was quite a nice walk. After that I went back to a “safe” place to eat lunch: the park where I met the students. During lunch I had a phone call from someone I met in Andasibe, 3 days before, who lived in around Tana. Who wanted to meet for a drink before I left the country a good way to spend my last afternoon in Mada ! After that I went to a hotel near the airport; my flight was leaving at 7 the next day so I needed to be there at 5.
Tana was quite surprising, when I first arrived I didn’t want to be there but the days I spend there, turned out to be very nice. I am glad I gave you a chance, I met lots of nice people that I hope I will see again very soon. One day I will be back for sure !!