Scenes from a Moving Car: Antananarivo Commute

When I first got to Antananarivo I would stare out the window during the commute to work, and started taking pictures with my iPhone through the window of the shuttle.


The water in the rice paddies has dried up significantly (but not all), and much of the effort has shifted to digging up the mud, making bricks which are allowed to dry in the sun, and then baked in a self-constructed kiln in the fields.  I now bike or run through the fields 3-4 days a week, and the smoke from the kilns has made the ride a bit more difficult, though the skies become an odd shade of pink at sunset.

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Along one of the main roads in town is a large levee, or “digue” (dike) with a path along the top.  Often when it is sunny, people will dry their clothes on the grass on the side of the digue.

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Mostly young men, but occasionally families, will transport goods through the city using hand carts.  Often they appear overloaded.  Antananarivo is somewhat hilly, and the uphill slogs often look pretty brutal.  Typically there will be someone up front (usually barefoot) pulling with everything they’ve got, and they will enlist the help of 2 or 3 colleagues whose heads and/or shoulders will be fully engaged at the back of the cart.

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June and July are winter in the southern hemisphere, but temperatures in the 60s don’t keep people out of the water when there is work to be done.  Typically that work involves a few men with buckets bailing water from one field into the next, so that they can start producing bricks.

DSCF8393 DSCF8397It’s tough to drive on most roads because the sidewalks, to the extent that they exist, are often home to roadside businesses.  This forces pedestrians into the streets, and the single line of cars moving in each direction means I am always cringing because it looks like the right mirror is constantly inches from hitting someone in the face or head.


An official taxi stand.


And every evening the sunsets are spectacular.  I am rarely able to get a decent shot from the hill we pass over every day, but here is one from lower down.

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