Thursday, June 12, 2008

Malagasy Musings

While the citizens of Madagascar seem hell bent on digging up, burning down, or chopping down their country ASAP, there are still quite a lot of beautiful spots left with truly amazing wildlife.

Interestingly, the Malagasy do NOT consider themselves to be African nor do they think Madagascar is part of Africa.

One of the most striking things I noticed was the fact that you don't really see hardly any old people there.

In the villages especially there were tons of quite young children everywhere. Babies be havin' babies! I think the national anthem should be "me so horny".

Transportation infrastructure is pretty much non-existent, especially the further you get from the capital city.

Malagasy pop songs are quite long compared to American pop songs.

It was jarring for me to be in a national park and see villages inside it with, in some cases, people cutting trees to make charcoal right in the park.

Most of the people we spoke to had little conception of the US or our lifestyles (and these obviously were people who had exposure to tourists). We were asked things like, "what is your staple food in the US?" (I would answer "high fructose corn syrup"), and when we asked a person who said he'd like to visit the USA where he'd like to go he said "the wetlands and the drylands".


Shawn said...

I just finished some delicious Mountain Dew flavored high fructose corn syrup.


Norman said...

Good answer on the staple food question. I'm left wondering where 'the wetlands and the drylands' are, though. Louisiana and Arizona?

Anonymous said...

Well, they have a point on ancestry: "The origins of the language spoken in Madagascar, Malagasy, suggested Indonesian connections, because its closest relative is the Maanyan language, spoken in southern Borneo," Mr Hurles said.

"Malagasy peoples are a roughly 50:50 mix of two ancestral groups: Indonesians and East Africans."

Unknown said...


I think it is not as clear cut as you make it sound. I am malagasy and I consider Madagascar an integral part of Africa.


Angus said...

Hi. thanks for your comment. I should say that I was basing my statement on hearing 6 or 7 people make a very clear distinction between Madagascar and Africa and no one making any kind of connection between them. of course my sample was small and non-random.

ps. we had a simply fantastic time in your country!

cheers, Angus