The island of Madagascar

So, geographer Yap back on the horse. This time we will go to Madagascar =)

Madagascar (Malaga. Madagasikara, fr., And English. Madagascar) - a state in the western Indian Ocean, Madagascar and the adjacent small islands off the east coast of Africa. Area - 587 thousand. Km, the population - 18, 4 million people. (2005 UN estimate). Capital - Antananarivo.

Motto: «Tanindrazana, Fahafahana, Fandrosoana»
"Fatherland, Freedom, Progress»

Date of independence, June 26, 1960 (from France)
Official language Malagasy, French, English
The capital Antananarivo
Largest Antananarivo
The form of government interim government
President Andry Rajoelina
Prime Minister Monja Roindefo

73 Photo © and Wikipedia (text)

The island of Madagascar is washed by the Indian Ocean and is located near the eastern coast of South Africa, separated from it by the Mozambique Channel. The highest point is the inactive volcano Maromokotro (2 876 m), which is located in the mountain range Tsaratanana, in the northern part of the island. The capital Antananarivo. The total area of ​​the state - 587 040 km. The length of about 1600 km, the width of more than 600 km. The central part of the island takes Andzhafi mountain plateau, gently sloping to the west and steeply to the east coast lowlands.

A bicameral parliament - the National Assembly of 127 deputies elected by popular vote for 4-year term, the Senate (100 seats), two-thirds filled with members of provincial assemblies, one-third appointed by the president. According to the results of elections in September 2007 in the National Assembly holds 106 seats the party president I Love Madagascar (TIM), 1st place - the Party of Economic Liberalism and Democratic Action for the Restoration of Madagascar (LEADER / Fanilo), 20 seats from independent deputies.

Madagascar culture shaped by two cultures that underlie magalasiyskogo people Austronesian culture and the culture of the Bantu tribes. Since the X-century Arab influence she felt, and after the 16 th European, particularly French in XX-th century.

Kitchen Magaskara consists mainly of rice dishes (boil) with garnish (Lauck). In the south, sometimes replaced pounded rice on dried corn. Significant impact on the Malagasy kitchen had culinary traditions of France, China and India, and to a lesser extent Eastern Africa, along with the Arab.

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Madagascar from space

Many people around the world, before the advent of the cartoon Madagascar, not even aware of the existence of the island of the same name. After the release of the cartoon Madagascar tourist flow increased significantly. Visa was the cost at 35 and 118 dollars, you can get it both at home and at the airport in the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo. (In both cases, which is characteristic of Third World countries, a tourist passport pierce the clip, attaching a receipt.) The director, who directed the cartoon Madagascar, a regular visitor to this region to rest, he was greeted as the Messiah or the Pope, carrying the island at once two helicopters.

Madagascar - the fourth largest island in the world (590 ths. Sq. Km.) After Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo. By area, it is in France and the Benelux countries put together in 2, 5 times higher than the UK. During European explorers, it called the Great Island of Madagascar, its length from north to south and 1, 6 thousand. Km., Average width of 400 km length of coastline 5 thous. Km.

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It is believed that this is Africa, but in many respects it is a separate world, a separate continent. Ethnic basis of the population is immigrants from Southeast Asia. Malagasy language is akin to the language of the natives of Borneo. When the colonization of Madagascar came to the British, French and even the Norwegians, who mastered the high mountain areas, the cold climate that resemble native polar.
In addition, the island came to the Arabs who settled in the north-east coast, and just south of immigrants live in South Africa. All this mix of cultures creates a unique variety.

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Even more surprising nature. Island over millions of years to develop independently from Africa, and predators once povyvelis, and all the others, on the contrary, very multiplied. As a result, the island substantially greater diversity of species. So, from 8 species of baobab 7 are found only in Madagascar.

Baobab - is power, it is a kind of personification of the invincible power. Since childhood, especially after the "Little Prince", I was tormented by the question: "how natives and writhed his cut for firewood?". Just imagine - you got to land 6 acres, 5 of which occupies the baobab. We must somehow cope with it. One would like to participate in such a project. Perhaps this is not done, but at the same time to live your life without seeing this fabulous tree, just a shame.

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in the photo - the baobab)

With transport to Madagascar things are bad. The plane flies only from Paris, Nairobi, Seychelles, Reunion and Mauritius. From Paris flying Air France. Tickets are expensive. The plane arrives late at night in Antananarivo.

To visit Madagascar need a visa. It is made to everyone at the embassy in Moscow for several days. You must have the original ticket redeemed and fill out a questionnaire. The influx of visitors there. In the book, registration can be seen that for visas treated every day. Price visas - 200,000 Malagasy francs that leaves 32.85 US $. Money taken exclusively in dollars, do not give a date.

Citizens of countries can normally obtain a visa at the airport on arrival. It is even cheaper, in fact - the citizens of Russia it is also allowed on arrival. Unfortunately, it is only from the words of airport employees, and at the embassy said that the visa should be taken necessarily in Moscow. Set truth failed and others I do not advise you to do. Of course, you can save a dollar - the other, but in Madagascar comes slowly. By the same window in which the visa stamped in their passport, a queue of several hundred people. Plane large fully packed, mostly French tourists. Hurry is not accepted. Natives say with pride that they have everything happens generations, generations, that is very slow.

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The official exchange rate of 1 US $ = 5894 MGF on 08.07.2003. Inflation is high. Euro like a par with the dollar. The course is quite acceptable, and a special benefit from the exchange on the black market is not, but the procedure for the exchange just amazing. The corresponding window is usually all. An employee of the bank on every (!) The bill on a typewriter typing paper indicating the bank bill numbers and passport data, sign it at three officers, and then another official enters it into the computer, print a receipt. The unfortunate bill stapler pin all the collected signatures and put in the safe. Then on a first cause you to get money for each bill separately. So vozite 500 euros a piece of paper. Dollar bills in the bank simply refuse to take. The trade settlement currency is forbidden, for it put the terrible punishment to both parties, but occasionally shove dollar payment possible.

At the airport, the exchange procedure is a little simplified, but still takes about 10 minutes per person. Here is where helps to have a visa stamped in advance. You'll be among the first.

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Barkers-many travel agents. Without overnight stay here do not stay. Violence is not, and can be selected. In advance, via the Internet, in Madagascar can be reserved only the most expensive hotel and then this opportunity came recently. Annuities also almost no cars. Budget has an office at the airport and on the main street Araben 'ny Fahaleovanena. Moreover, an appropriate infrastructure, either. No proper roads, no signs at all, conventional cards, the emergency services no cellular only in large cities.

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Morning. City center. Women wear the pots on their heads. Children - committed ragged - crawling in the mud. Although it is the center of the capital, all very poor. A huge beautiful city, rebuilt once the Europeans launched reminds noble aristocrat exiled to fell trees. Cosmetic repairs have not been doing. Many simply destroyed.
The main natural disaster countries - socialist orientation and the coming to power of Didier Ratsiraka. He became a friend of the Soviet Union and decided to build a brighter future. Moreover, unlike many tyrants, he was working not for their wallet, not to build more palaces and the ski slopes, and for the sake of an idea. The idea was just inappropriate. The results were immediate. Steel droughts and floods, though sometimes simultaneously. The children began to die by hundreds of thousands from starvation. Help other great socialist somehow helped keep the situation under control, but with the collapse of the Soviet Union had to remember about democracy. In the early nineties regime fell. First, of course, we chose capitalism, but then, realizing that there is no capital to work, Ratsiraka returned to the place as the legitimately elected President. Under this business in the city center burned the palace of the Queen.

Natural disasters resumed. Floods demolished bridges and pozhuhshy drought harvest.

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In the next election has been applied administrative resource. As a result, according to official figures Ratsiraka won, but unofficial - defeated his rival, businessman and mayor of Antananarivo Marc Ravalomanana. The unrest began in the country. Most of the bridges were blown up. Children were dying of hunger, but in 2002, the West intervened, pointing to the winner and fair national elections in 2001. They became Marc Ravalomanana, Ratsiraka well and was granted asylum in France, July 5, 2002 fled the country, and apparently no longer dares to be declared in Madagascar. Life went on the mend. Anyway, hunger will not die, do not kill each other.

Before the triumph of Western ideals is still far, but recently in the capital earned ATMs. Now you can go and remove the desired amount in local currency. Local do not enjoy it, not understanding the meaning of the existence of this machine, the nurse, but for tourists it is a great opportunity to get local money without settling in a long queue.

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The biggest piece of paper - 25,000 francs. ATM provides new notenjoyed bills, no more than half a million at a time. The local folk tradition to take nine pieces of paper, wrapping tenth and break through the stapler. Thus, to receive money in the quarter of a million, and all of the banknote become leaky. The same make and with dollars. The smallest note is 500 francs. Tourists usually smaller and do not have to, but in the markets and poor margins were coins with baobabs, zebu, orchids, socialist tractors. A great souvenir. On the face value of the coins all easy. Coins are registered in Ariary (Ariari). 1 Ariary equal to 5 francs - mind you, not the other way around, like everyone else. But it's flowers. As a result, inflation devalued coin, and denominated in 5 times, ie, if the coin written 10 Ariary 50 francs, it really is Ariary 50 250 francs, or half of the 500 franc bills.

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In the crowd of tourists walking self-appointed guides. It is necessary to stop somewhere like a man from nowhere who undertook begin to describe what Antananarivo - a beautiful city, we have such a palace. If he managed to get worn out at least for a minute, he was asked to pay. The only method to get rid of these types - it just loudly: «No any guide, please!».

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Another feature Madagskara - Zeb. Zebu - it's such a small cow with a hump on the withers. Pronounce that word in the French manner - "zebyuyuyu" with the accent on the last "u". Zebu Madagascar is sacred, it is - the basis of the universe. This does not mean that it can not be eaten. On the contrary, the zebu is a national food. Its meat is very tasty, softer and flavorful beef.

All local rites necessarily associated with Zebu. When a young man marries, he must steal a herd of 100 zebu. It is proof that he was a real man. Even the condition of the person is measured in the number of herds. "This is a very rich man, he has 1000 ... zebu" - speak Malagasy. It should be noted that the money equivalent is strongly dependent on the location and type of animal. Basically herds graze in the south of the country, and sell and eat them in the north. These areas are separated by thousands of kilometers. Huge herds driven mainly along the main north-south road. At the time of haul to pay for hay, sustenance peregonschikov, the right of passage. As a result, most of the herd and does not reach the capital, and the price has come down increases many times. Moreover, the valuable white zebu with black spots and a large hump. That it is necessary to use for ritual purposes self-respecting people. The price of such cows in the capital comes to 2 million francs (about 300 US $). Well, if zebu small, black, without a hump and a distant village, it is sufficient and 60 million - less than $ 10.

Surprisingly, almost no milk zebu, in any case, the milk in the markets do not sell, but it is often used in vehicles. In the cart harnessed two pieces. The rate does not exceed 3 km per hour, but take the time here is not accepted. On the road, these carts are a major traffic. They can even foot. Outside the tourist places peasants would agree to bring even free, but, alas, not far - in the best case to the nearest village.

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With machines in Madagascar things are bad. Gasoline roads - about one US dollar per liter. At these prices the car consumes only gasoline in the amount greater than the same kilometers take a rickshaw, or in the local pus-pus. As a result, local people private car - a luxury. The only thing that you can afford - it is to use bash-taxis (taxi-brousse). This taxi. In the cities it looks like the Russian bus, only breaks they usually people twice more. In rural areas, where there is no proper roads, bash-taxi - a six-axle all-wheel drive Mercedes middle of the last century, in which the body breaks a lot of dozen chickens, children, sacks of coal and potatoes. Directions too expensive - 8 hours drive cost about $ 15.

Tolls are made to pay, and the local population simply can not understand what is hitchhiking. Why did he have to pay for petrol, with a salary of $ 10 a month, and those white wealthy gentlemen who earn hundreds of times more, no. His children are dying of hunger, and he who has to carry something. While it is not an exaggeration, children do die. Moreover, the difficult situation with auto ban local people bring up foreigners. Many roadblocks very carefully check all documents and threatened violators terrible punishment. All this is true, but the people are sincere, sociable, not law-abiding. Sooner or later, the car can be found. Especially when driving Europeans. On the occasion of ruin and starvation set of all international organizations working in the country, and they are happy to take their own. In this wilderness, even Russia Europe seem. Surprisingly, all the formidable positions once they are passed. All friendly - will talk a minute, look at our passports, and we can go further.

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The nights are cold, up to 2 degrees Celsius. It affects highlands. The central regions of Madagascar are raised above sea level to a height of 2,500 meters. The highest peaks can even be frozen into the wee hours, but the snow is not falling ever.

The central areas of treeless. Rocky cliffs give way to fields of terraced agriculture. Malagasy brought the technology with them from South East Asia. Built terraces for centuries. They lined the walls and bottom of the burnt brick. A complex system of water lines can be grown rice is almost on hilltops.

From the same house and stacked bricks. They usually double-decker. On the first floor in a small room, the family lives of a dozen people on the second shared kitchen, which is in the midst of a black fired oven, or rather not even a stove and a fire in the middle of the room. Glasses, as a rule, is not, and they are replaced by wooden shutters.

Many children, usually not less than 10. The population is growing rapidly - by 3 percent per year. All this leads to the fact that old people almost invisible, and all of the younger population. A total of Madagascar 17 million people.

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In Madagascar, many rickshaws. Here they are called "pus-pus." Adopted the most classic version in a wheelbarrow on two wheels with handles that are pushing in front of him. Being a rickshaw by local standards, not so bad. Like in Russia as a taxi driver. During a trip to the city will put the dress from 2 to 5 thousand francs. On the day he manages to earn up to 20 thousand. It's good. You can feed a family. As a result of all this is not exploitation, but quite the contrary - to the local population

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It is interesting that runs through the city rickshaw barefoot. It is said that shoes wear out quickly, and the skin on the legs grows fast and free. Trolley its kept clean, decorate it with all sorts of figures, give your own name. In anticipation of customer scrubbed to a shine spokes of the wheels and other pieces of iron. For presentation wash their own feet.

Why is that?



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