Tamatave (Toamasina) is a port city of approximately 2-3 million people. No accurate count is available. It is a very interesting place.
The streets are filled with large transport trucks, a few cars and small trucks, some Tuc Tucs, thousands of push pushes, scooters, and people, the majority of whom are on foot. Only slim, trim people in this country.
As our driver said there is only one rule. It doesn’t matter if it is a person or a wheeled vehicle of some description, whoever is on the right has right of way. No traffic lights and very few stop signs. It seems to work quite well.
Among all this are numerous goats and zebu ( hump-backed cattle). The goats and cattle are an important factor on the city streets as they are the main recycling system.
The city has one traffic circle which consists of large pot holes and is usually partially flooded. All transport passes through this circle as it is the route to the main highway to the capital city, Antananoriva (Tana).
This city is about 300 km over the mountains via a two-lane narrow highway that consists of multiple narrow switchbacks and very deep gorge drop-offs. At one point one lane has fallen into the gorge. The trip takes 8 hours and there is only one place to stop or turn around. We rode about 60 km of it and that was enough.
The streets of Tamatave are lined with open market stalls, shops, restaurants etc. One menu included sautéed guts. The driver had eaten elsewhere and said he had a delicious lunch of chicken feet. Dining out is not for the faint of stomach. We have never eaten so many French fries.
To be continued …