This was a big town on the map, a famous town.  So I had walked 11km here confident that I could get some luxuries:  powdered milk, biscuits, tea, fruit and most of all, chocolate.

But as I walked in, I knew there would be a problem:  black wooden shanties on a rutted road, very small shops with very dusty shelves, and not much on them.

Madagascar town - centre

It brought home to me again the people in this country are (mostly) poor and some are dirt poor.  What was available was basic.

Madagascar - village - shop with beans

I found biscuits of a sort, and chocolate, of a sort.  I bought a bottle of coke from a large (for here), accommodating woman.  She gave it to me unopened, and when I asked her to open it, she looked at me with a look that said any chance I had of sleeping with her, or anyone she knew, were shot* and just motioned to the blunt, worn, counter edge.  I acknowledged, banged my hand on the bottle top and the counter edge, and at the 2nd attempt, got it open.  Well, maybe somebody would sleep with me someday.

* (Mind you, at best, I would not have described her as being in my target market, nor, it seemed, I in hers.)

But like (almost) everywhere, there are happy playing children, who when I took out my camera, smelt it and came running.

Madagascar village - kids playing