We leave just after the break of dawn to make it to the airport for that terrible 6 am flight to Paris. It seems the easiest way to get to Madagascar from Europe is taking the daily flight from Paris. This unfortunately leaves at just after 10 in the morning so the early flight is necessary.
We manage to get to the airport there is absolutely no traffic this time of the day so the usually fast drive is even faster than usual and we manage to get into the plane so we can relax a bit on the short flight to Paris. Then it is the next and much longer leg of the journey from Paris to the Antananarivo the capital of Madagascar. We arrive late at night and then we have to get through first the medical check where they apparently want to check for yellow fewer – which really isn’t an issue when you fly from Paris but this doesn’t seem to matter to the local authorities.
After a long wait we finally makes it through the medical check to the visa on arrival booth were it is fairly easy to get a visa and we can finally get to the immigration and out of the airport. We have a car waiting for us at the airport – I figure the driver has waited for a while considering the time it took us to get through the immigration. Fortunately the drive to the center is smooth except for a few check points where the police want to get some bribes.
We don’t get to the hotel until around 1 in the morning so there is only one thing to do when we get there – find the bed and get a good night’s sleep.
The next morning it is time to explore the city. The owner of the hotel tells us you can walk around the main street without too many problems. But you should probably leave your camera behind for security reasons. Great the place sounds wonderful and safe. We get out to the main street of the city which is quite busy. It is the Sunday of a long weekend leading up to the national day on Tuesday. So the shops are closed but the small street vendors are still out trying to sell different stuff and there are a few carnival rides out for the children.
The main street leads us pass the parliament which is a nice building and down to the railway station. The station has no departure since the trains have stopped calling upon Tana years ago – so now the station is only host to a couple of shops inside the old building.
There really doesn’t seem to be many attractions in the center so I am not too bother by the fact I left the camera in the hotel and I head back from the station to go and explore a big market close to the main street and our hotel. The market is extremely busy and crowded and people seem to push into you accidently or intentionally to be able to check out if you should be carrying any valuables. I am not sure which of the two it is but I am not bringing my stuff out so it doesn’t really matter. The market is pretty useless for tourist unless you are in the market for a new pair of jeans or some snacks to eat so it would have been a fairly quick visit if I could only find a way out and back to the main street.
It is time to head back to the hotel and stop exploring. Instead we have to do some planning and renting a car for our trip around the country. It seems like a worthy use of our afternoon instead of exploring the city more. There really isn’t much of interest anyways.