Leaving Antananarivo

Living on my budget, big cities are not the place for me. There is no escape from the harsh reality of poverty and suffering of thousands flocking to city life in the hope that they will find prosperity. I am living on the underbelly of the city, like a flea. It’s cheap bunk houses, street food, sleazy internet cafe`s and just walking the streets to escape the hovel of a room, pass time till night falls that I can collapse and sleep like so many around me hoping that tomorrow will bring a better day.

Due to logistical problems as well as the leg infection that Nick has struggled to shrug off, we have spent an extra day in the smog, noise, and open sewers sour smelling streets. Like many I walk past massive high rise luxury hotels and apartments, longing to get in just for a day to escape the harsh realty that unfolds every hour around me. Just that little private space to reclaim ones sanity.

It’s Sunday morning, the streets are fairly quiet and the traffic is down to half, gone is most of the black choking diesel smoke. I actually can’t take it any more; I need my sanity and open spaces. I can handle another day, but we still have to be here on Monday. I got up, dressed and said to Nick, “I have to go; I have to get out of here. You guys can pick me up this evening”.

I remember running down the cobble roads, the city was awakening, the noise was growing the smoke was starting to hang in the air stealing my breath. People were packing out their street markets, inch by inch they would creep into the streets, making them even smaller and more claustrophobic. Street children were back on the prowl, hustling me on every corner as I punched my path through this growing mayhem. Dust, diesel smoke and sweat burning my eyes and lungs, my head screaming for some reprieve from this torture, some open space to feast the eyes on, just some fresh air, the tranquil sound of water and the southing whisper of nature. City life – what are we doing to ourselves.

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