I have culture shock, obviously. Again. It was this (a taxibrousse to Namakia):
…to this (Terminal E at Charles de Gaulle):
Things that are different in America:
- Busses, Planes, Trains, and all other modes of transportation are on time, clean, and not filled with live animals. If they are late, it is only for a few minutes, and they tell the truth about the reasons for lateness and make a sincere attempt to estimate the delay honestly.
- Fruit is from somewhere far away and ripened in transit and therefore tastes weird and is all shaped like a perfect plastic version of itself.
- I don’t have to go outside to go to the bathroom. Every night for 3 nights I woke up suddenly, not knowing where I was, wondering if I had to go outside to pee.
- We have libraries. And movie theaters. And strip malls. They have forests, lakes, beaches, canoes, pots of rice to watch, children, chickens, farms…
- Races for charity. 5k, 8k, 10k – almost every weekend in spring. In Madagascar, people run when they need to get somewhere fast.
- Everyone speaks the same language, but no one talks to each other in crowded/public spaces.
Those are my preliminary observations. I was in Madagascar for six weeks (plus 3 years) and traveled overland and through the air around the south of the country. Forded rivers, ducked through copses of cacti, held a month-old endangered tortoise, cavorted in the waves on a deserted beach, suffered from debilitating heat rash, and ate some of the best seafood I have ever sampled in my life. Next book, coming up!
I want to say thanks to everyone who has read my Travel Companion and especially those who have contacted me. I’m always available to help with travel planning – it will help me live vicariously through my fellow adventurers as I take a little break from adventuring.