Lifting into the air it came, smoke bellowing from everywhere and misfiring repeatedly, the whine of its engine screaming under the strain as it flew over the crest of the hill. Bits and pieces seemed to be falling off in the process, but on it came gathering speed as it now started to descend the hill. This is the new breed of Malagasy driver, the kamikaze scooter.

Cigarette in mouth, no helmet, cellphone in the other hand and the only form of control over the scooter was and elbow wedged between the mirror and the handlebar guiding the whole show to ultimate disaster. Oblivious to all of this, sitting on the back, side saddle was his girlfriend, smiling, her one hand holding her large straw hat and the other pulling her hair out of her face as they sped passed gaining momentum and picking up a slow snaking swerve.

I turned and followed this side show as it sped on past me in a haze of blue smoke and gestating arms. As they hit the corner the scooter swerved wildly, corrected and then lost its front wheel grip. Down it went in a long slow motion slide. The driver was flung off and went skidding off like a tortoise on its back, cellphone and cigarette still firmly held aloft.

Gracefully the pillion passenger came unstuck. Lifting her legs as she slid on her butt, bumped the curb and somehow managed to spring up onto her feet and slowly jogged herself to a graceful stop. Scolding and shouting without taking a breath for about a minute, she walked over to her boyfriend who was laying on the road with a debarked back groaning. She quickly looked around to see if there was anyone watching and then her right leg flew out, firmly planting her foot in his crutch, turning as if nothing happened, she minced on down the road.

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