Coastal Life

Now where was I? Oh yes, sat on a beautiful beach, enjoying the view whilst sipping a cold - life feels good despite my aching muscles, and at least I'm clean as I also had a shower - many of these hard days end with no shower at all, just a dip in the sea or a river if I'm lucky.

The fishermen are paddling past on their way home

My dinner arrives - tomato salad and chips.. the life of a vegetarian

I went for a stroll through the village and met this little boy, who shyly showed me his homemade boat - constructed from a discarded flip flop, twigs and leaves

He demonstrated how well it floated

And I went with him downstream where he and his friends were racing them- using the gentle breeze blowing in from the ocean.
I was getting some enjoyment out of spotting the school crossing signs, they seem to vary a lot from one town to the next - and at the risk of sounding a bit weird, I ended up with a folder of photos showing the different signs (a bit like my folder of photos of different cow signs in Latin America - when you travel on your own and there's no one to talk to...)

Here they look...

In this village I'm expecting to see people with short stumpy legs and elbows that don't bend.

While here

Even the kids have quiffs and the adults have abnormally long arms.

In the real world I was meeting guys like this

He's 86 and runs the village shop in a place where the houses look like this

That's the posh end of the village, this is mostly what the houses looked like

he has run the shop every day for the last 50 years, he took over from his father-in-law, his wife died 16 years ago. I drank a soft drink with him (no electricity so it was warm from the shelf, after he had wiped the dust off the bottle) and gave him some of my wasabi peas - an acquired taste, especially for someone living in the middle of nowhere in northern Madagascar. He said he'd never tasted anything like them and shared them with his great-nephew who had come along to check I wasn't there to mug the old guy.

Back to my journey, 6.15am and the view from my shack looks like this

The morning rush hour started up...