(Madagascar, 4 Jun 2012)
One of the sobering sights of Tamatave is the cadre of ex-middle-aged Frenchmen enjoying startlingly poor judgment in their particular choices of young Malagasy women.
Some are permanently stranded here (this used to be a French colony), some just felt insufficiently loved at home. But overall these were not gents whose judgement I admired.
But as I have discovered, some people will always make unlikely choices. Passing an island in the south of the Philippines (years ago on a windsurfing trip, clothes strapped to the base of the mast, money in a plastic bag) I encountered an older German with what appeared to be three, very decent, young Filipina wives. He was making a living as the only boat engine repairman for some nautical distance. But, despite these blessed circumstances – three wives, and a monopoly, in a paradise – he was clearly looking much the worse for wear. He had given himself to drink.
Now why one would give oneself to drink with three wives to manage, I did not (at the time) understand.
It may be that the further you go to look for happiness, the further you distance yourself from it. Here, also in Tamatave, is a couple that don’t have much, but even so seem to be very happy with the way things are.
And here a nice gent, not far from his home, and with even less, who still seemed to find life quietly amusing.