Listening for the Alien Heartbeat

There is no functioning road from where I was (Tamatave) to where I wanted to go (Maronantsetra) and as walking would have involved galoshes and waist deep, or worse, river crossings in the rainy season, I flew.  None of my childhood memories of galoshes are good ones.

We flew in to Maroantsetra airport, watched from the side of the runway by cows, and a family under an umbrella.

This picture is through the window while I was waiting for my pack to get offloaded.  Note the kid in the trailer, and the three rather sturdy local chickens that look like they could be harnessed to pull him along.

Maroantsetra - building outside airport

These kids below were also just outside the window. They were friendly if cautious,and what they were doing here I can’t guess. They weren’t selling anything or begging.  They did not seem sufficiently well-connected to know anybody they could wait for who could possibly be traveling by plane.  I guess they had nothing better to do and were here for their own amusement.  Apparently many families only send one child to school, and remarkably, not always the boy.  I (later) came across one family where the boy was the only one not sent, as apparently he was “not that bright”.

Maroantsetra airport - kids outside terminal

Of course once I stepped out of the waiting area, not only were there kids, but chickens, ducks and stalls selling things to eat. Useful, given that the local airline gave out only a small hard lolly.

All in all, my all-time favorite airport. Two pictures are sufficient for one post, so this time at least, the cows and the family under the umbrella will retain their anonymity.

Postscript:  25/June
While waiting for the plane to take me out, I confirmed that every time a plane landed, these (and other) kids would materialise from the surrounding jungle, and when the show was over, they just evaporated back.  No begging, no selling, just here for their own amusement.  Which, given that most of the local kids have only stones, sticks and odds and ends for toys, is not surprising.

4 Responses to “The Girl is Bright, the Boy, No”

  1. yasmine ft dörr

    Immensely enjoying your writing and faces of the children in your photographs. Thank you for visiting my blog, which led me to yours. Looking forward to reading more…

  2. alienheartbeat

    It was the pictures of kids I liked on your blog also, as well as the woman walking her pig. Funnily enough, I have a picture of a woman walking her pig also (in Making a Man of Me).

  3. wewerenothing

    Lovely picture of the kids. I too, ended up finding your blog after you visited mine. Armenia holds a certain special place in my heart so when I saw one of your posts was about it, I stopped in to visit. Your writing is pretty funny. Love your humor.


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