Picture is not of Madagascar but is of mountains which is far more relevant. If only I could upload my pictures you would see just how hilly Tanna really is. You would be pretty much confined to the hotel mI'm afraid Maura. Did make a bit of progress today however. I did find the Ministre de Jeunesses, Sport et Culture to give it its full title and eventually found a member of the 'Cabinet' who welcomed me on behalf of the minister who is currently on the east coast. He kindly checked that I was safely installed then offer me two things to do. Firstly to practice English with members of the cabinet, then to work with local students in a room the size of a school hall. He said the minister would like to discuss that as a start with the possibilty of moving around the country later which all sounds perfect. I have agreed to meet with the minister, Serge Ranaivo, with whom I have had some email contact already at 11.00 on Monday with a start date of the following Monday. I figured I will need at least a week to prepare.
I was really happy with that so decided to walk to the Queen's Palalce. (The queen died a hundred years ago and the palace was burned down on 6th November 1995). Fairly interesting walk but the Palace is only open one day a year, 6th November, I was offered a guided tour by about 8 different guys, one of whom told me, predictably, that the Palace could be opened to a guide. I declined. One 22 year old called Tahine in Malagasy or Jean-Jacque when he thought I was French joined me for the walk because he 'needed to practice' his English. Not surprisingly his tour guide English was excellent, all dates and history word-perfect as was his explanation of how poor his parents are but less competent when I asked him the best place to buy a fridge. I told him I do not pay for guides about 20 times but he came to life when I told him I would teach any student English for free at the ministry from Monday week and asked repeatedly about the cost. Maybe I can do something of benefit. He also offered to find me a cheap room near the Palace area which is when the fridge conversation turned up. We will see.
1.Tanna is bloody hilly. If Rome is built on 7 hills Tanna is made up of 17 and all really steep.
2.Some/many of the people have nothing. I went out last night and saw plenty of families of 3 generations sleeping on the street.
3.The street vendors, and indeed everyone else, seem to work hard and constantly. Each one is constantly washing their stand and they have to fetch water from street pumps/taps and carry it in buckets to their stands.
4.Everything is carried on the head from baskets of fruit to sacks of plastic bottles by young and old alike. I had been puzzled by a fat roll the size of a double mattress that a number of people were carrying on their heads throughout the day. It looked a though it contained a 25 inch diameter roll of dirty grass but Jean-Jacque/Tahine whom I decided to call Brian explained it was coal. Seriously heavy even if you are walking along the flat but Tanna is bloody hilly and the pavements are so uneven it is like walking the Giant's Causeway.
5.Zebu is the largest domesticated animal here. It looks like a cross between a moose without the antlers and a donkey so I imagine it's related to zebra or water buffalo. Clear picture? (Damn that camera lead!) It tastes very strong, much stronger than venison, but was not too stringy. I would eat it again but I think I will try the lamb curry tonight.
6.The beer is THB - Three Horses Beer - very good, very cold 3000Ar or £1 for 65 cl which I think is about a pint and 5.4% which makes a pint just right.
7.Mike, so far the score is BEER 2 v BITES 0. I hope Leeds are doing as well. Please leave a message here on the Bristol result against Rotheram. They play on Sunday.
8.My French is crap.
.Time to try to find the bank. Could take a while but that's the final thing I have to do today before I get to reading my book (Girl with the Dragon Tatoo is good forcing myself to read a French newspaper is less good)