This is the country of naturally grown stuffs. Especially in Itasy, fertile volcano lava soil enables cultivators to succeed in many cultivations. No fertilizers needed, no watering need (this one has to be explained to me, though).
What is there to buy? In winter season, sweet potato, cassava, tomato, sugar cane (buy them sliced, easier to eat)... My favourite is papaya. Sweet with a firm flesh. The sweet potato is big & yummy as well, much tasty than those I happen to buy in Tana. Other times, rice, corn & God knows what.
Papayas !! They are everywhere, on every stall in Analavory area, incl. at the entry of the Amparaky geyser site !
What to buy: Papaya
Fish: baraoa, black-bass, tilapia... It uses to be a must-buy in Itasy for locals as in Tana, despite interdiction to fish in urban canals, one can mistakingly buy Itasy fish that, actually, comes from filthy canals of the capital. Unless one lives in Tana countryside where river flows, ricefields abund, or knows a reliable fish supplier, common sense requires to skip fish sold in Tana street stalls. Buy fish in Itasy, in Alaotra, in the countryside. Just one little note: To buy fish, you should bring a glacière (this portative freezer box) & shop upon arrival in Itasy area (Analavory market, stalls along the road) as soon, Tana urban dwellers will raid the stalls and nothing will be left for you. That's happened to us lately.
What to pay: Pricing of Aug. 2007, one papaya went for Ar 400-500 (20 cents & even less in eurocents)
"Madagascar lava pumice"... Girls, could be your magic phrase while offering the present to your gal friends.
No shop to buy pumice in Ampefy. At least, I didn't have to seek for one since I could buy mine at stalls and vendors at the entry of the Liliha waterfalls site.
The Liliha waterfalls are the Ampefy star-product along with the fresh fish. So, you wouldn't miss the pumice vendors at the parking lot in Antafofo (the village where the Liliha river falls at 25m-high). Even the staff who keeps the waterfalls site has their pumice stall. There, we paid more for the pumice as we also tipped them for keeping the place clean. One pumice stone went for Ar. 1400 (less than 50 cents, even less in eurocents). At the parking lot, I bought two pieces for half that price. Anyway, even at the staff stall, it's a good good good bargain, ain't ?
What to buy: Pumice... dark pumice. I bought one flat square piece to soften the foot sole & heels (aaah! as soft as a baby butt) . Then, I bought another conic one to decorate my bathroom.
What to pay: Read above