Fianar revisited. And it's still a hole.

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Africa » Madagascar » Fianarantsoa
October 11th 2009
Published: January 4th 2010
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Terraces of all kindsTerraces of all kindsTerraces of all kinds

View from my room at Arinofy Hotel
After my difficulties obtaining transport for the 6.5km between Ranomafana and Ranomafana National Park, it's a relief that it takes only 45 minutes to snare a taxi-brousse for the 30-odd km back to Fianar. During the journey I see many of the handcarts that seem popular here for moving produce - heavy on the uphills, they become luges for the downhills.

At one stop I see a kid with a leaf on a stick. Running into the wind, the leaf twirls like a propeller, causing the child to gurgle with delight. Who needs a PS3?

I arrive too late in Fianar to catch a further taxi-brousse with a sensible arrival time in Tana, so have to overnight. One feature of Fianar is that much more English is spoken here than in Tana - even the postcard-selling street kids know enough to spin a hard-luck story. I wander by the railway station to find it densely populated with foreigners - I presume that the popular train from Manakara on the coast has just come in. I then see a white guy on a unicycle, which is too much and I have to lie down for a while.

I've tried a different hotel to my last Fianar visit, and this new one also irritates me when the reception woman decides to stop speaking French with me and use English, even though we've had no communication issues in French until that point. I toy with the idea of telling her I don't understand her English but then decide that sucking it up is probably better than being a tool.

Fianar's full name (Fianarantsoa) may well mean "Place where good is learned" but I suspect there's also a nuance of "Place where tourists face myriad annoyances" in there somewhere.

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