This activity wouldn't take you a long time since it's about a typical coutryside village mainly living on subsistance farming, without any specific activity other than rice cultivation and zébu breeding (see my local custom tips for more).However, it gives you sceneries of everyday life in the country. I think if you go to the main place of the...more
The walk in the ricefields, or at least on the dikes that pass through them, is a good way to exercise (you walk and can do that for some hours if you like), to learn about activities related to rice cultivation, clay brick moulding and baking. As a matter of fact, you'll see the clay brick making and the ovens near the ricefields, esp. if you go...more
The Avaradrano (Northern Tana) area counts many royal villages & sacred hills. Each hill used to be ruled by its king before getting gradually merged, in the 18th cent., into the Imerina kingdom (in the area of what nowadays Greater Tana).Most presitigious, Ambohimanga, for being the cradle of the reign of the greatest of kings and queens,...more
To know more of the Malagasy cuisine I use to enjoy in Malaza, check the below website.
Basically, staple food is rice, as all over the island of Madagascar. Meat: add zébu, pork, poultry product. Other protein sources: fish and seafood.. we are on an island, right ?
However, I use to enjoy foreign dishes that we have come to discover following acquaintances with people from around the world. Home, like in many homes in Madagascar, you'd enjoy usual snacks, dishes that Malagasy have adopted. Those are mainly Chinese/ Vietnamese and Indian-Paki dishes because there are important communities of those ethnicities in Madagascar. They were brought there by the French, in XIX cent. And of course, we have got familiar with some French specialities too.
About Malaza: no restaurant there... Still, my last stay in Feb-March 2005 had seen me treated like in a 5-star hotel & restaurant. Mum used to plan, - I suspect - purposedly, weekly menus to have me trying a different Malagasy dish everyday... Sweet ! God knows food uses to make one homesick... she knows that well. Hmm... Now, I've returned home!
Favorite Dish: Favourite Malagasy dishes are:
-ravitoto (ground manioc leaf with pork meat);
-roasted chicken with garlic
-romazava créole: a dish from La Réunion that had been well adapted by Malagsy people. Basically, a stock made of 7 sorts of leaves- spinach-like leaf, watercress, Chinese cabbages, green onions...- and fat zébu meat- rump meat generally. Malagasy romazava is a simple stock made from only leaves & water & salt, usually used for dampening dry meals.
Lately, I discovered a thing for fat zébu meat dishes:
-zébu meat cooked as confit with green onions;
-same cooking with garlic
.. and drinks
Snapped it while having some drinks at my sister's loftish apartment. Was having a chat and bigh laughters with my sis and her hubby as well as with my cousin and his wife when we noticed this sunset. Not that usual. An orange hue, like a flamboyant fire in the sky, ready to fall on the plains...
As my sister said "It's so unusual, so special"... Indeed it was.. a sunset over ricefields.
To spend such exciting evenings, it's better to not think of work, to have some drinks (usually fresh beer for the youngs -- not me) and snacks with your favourite music and people. Then, you'll have some quality time.
To go to Malaza, any car would fit in dry season. Even potholes in the last section to my home should be dry, then no mud. Your chance to be stuck in them is close to none.
When it comes to Malaza in summer, only 4wd and motorbike would fit for this last section. One minute would be enough to ride this section if there wasn't any pothole. Now, for a 5-10 minute ride (out of a total of 1.5 hour-ride if you drive from Tana), would you really hire a 4wd ? OK, then stick to your car but be sure to leave your car on Malaza main place.
Anyways, I use to think your best bet would be a motorbike.
From Tana, it's only after some 15km, from Lazaina village that you'll have to take the dirty roads. Projects to improve the road conditions had been numerous during the many decades but it'sonly now that you see some of the results. As a matter of fact, a section in Lazaina village that uses to be dirty roads is now cobblestoned.. bit by bit, the effots would reach Malaza ... some day. For he moment, we make do with this.. and we are skilled in that :-)
Apart from some poultry produce and veggies, nothing to buy over there, except that those are all natural food that you'd buy from peasants.
Still, in the heavy buys section, you'd buy sand (yeah! yeah!), baked bricks (our area is known for clay bricking making).
Now, I tell you: this is the type of serene countryside village, no shop except stalls for very basic countrymen food (dried fish...uh!!!.. rice, sugar, salt, oil, some beans...). no sophisticated stuffs.
Oddly enough, this feeling of remoteness is what I like most in Malaza...
What to buy: Oh.. nearly forgot it.. in summer, you may buy fruits from some orchards owners. They sell it when there is too much produce. One of our neighbours uses to display the sharon fruits on his fence. It means you can buy it, you just knock on the gate and the "salesman" will handle the produce to you. As simple as that.
What to pay: bargain !
Just as I said that Lorraine wouldn't be alone to take over, the following generation will have to master acapella singing. Not karaoke. Acapella singing. You should be able to sing without notes, without instrument except light ones: such as flute, harmonica or guitar.It's customary in Malagasy family gatherings to sing acapella. Repertory ranges...more
Lorraine won't be alone in taking over Dol and co. See those instruments, they are the oldest of my nephews. They really had fun playing to warm the party along with "djs" and the singers...What is funny in this pictue is that the three nephews in front are older than my two cousins in background. What can I say ? Big family, eh ! That happens when...more
For Malaza being a rural area, most peasants go barefoot. Myself, I use to browse around barefoot : in the garden, the orchards, the vegetable patches... but only within our domain. Outside, it's a bit difficult :-) One day I would get used to walking on zébu pooh and risking walking on thorns... well, I am more concerned about walking on zébu pooh...more
Let's put it that way: Malaza wouldn't be the same without those potholes. Oxcarts are accountable for the conditions of this section, the last one leading to my house (see picture). It used to be so every summer: it's customary to find a car stuck in the mud during a rainy season, not a local car but "strangers" who are not acquainted with the...more
Those are the "dangers" of the area. It may happen when you cross them returning from the fields at 5pm. This is the time when sun sets and all field activitites cease: no soil labouring, no field works, no harvesting anymore. Then, at 5pm, countrymen and their cattles, geese and ducks use to return home. My place is at the rear end of the village...more
- walking: tennis shoes / walking shoes
- beaming sun: sunglasses, sunlotion, a cap/hat
- cooler evenings: add windbreaker or jumper in July-Aug-Sep
In winter where weather is dry, more dust, my scarf uses to be very useful. I use to just cover my mouth & nose with it whenever crossing a car that lifts the dust of the dirty road. (check picture)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: - the dusty dirty roads: some pills if you don't stand dust.. in winter, the red soil just becomes dry and well.. dust everywhere. Otherwise, buy eucalyptus essential oil to inhale after the dusty walks.
Photo Equipment: - curiosity & landscape: digicam or reflex & rolls (no shop in countryside)
Miscellaneous: - field glasses to see around. Look out for the wild ducks...
The birds one can spot in my area. For some, the kingfisher, fodys, an easy sight... For others, you'd consider yourself lucky whenever you can see one.Photo 2: for years, have only heard its song... the first time I could really spot it was while returning from a trek. As I passed by an eucalyptus tree, I could hear its call. Couldn't see it...more
May is the start of what I use to name "the burning season". Not that it is hot, it is not ! It is the beginning of the cold & dry season. The season of rice has just finished: the rice cultivators had harvested end April-May. After harvest, it is time to plough other plots & sew rice grains & spread fertilizers (cow pooh, most of times). If the...more
Following questions about the turquoise dragonfly in one of the albums in my hp, I come to think that a turquoise is not a common colour for a dragonfly.In my area only, I've spotted dragonflies in turquoise, red, brown, yellow, green shades. One species has wings with one thick black stripe... very unusual.It is such that one tends to forget how...more
Just to contradict the assertion in the above tip: it can get lush. Just depends on your season of the year to visit the area. These were Laniera plains pictured in end of summer (March) whilst the above picture of the same area was snapped in the middle of dry winter (July).Laniera plains edge Malaza, Lazaina, Namehana, Ambohitrakely, Ambohimanga,...more
When in Malaza, it is quite customary for visitors and urbaners to browse the area for some fresh air, for some hike, for sightseeing.I would never repeat it: in seemingly hollow Malaza (no shop, no bar, no club), it's its serene and relaxing landscape that people seek for. Strange enough, it doesn't have the lush flora, the white sand beach, the...more
So, how to get there ?In Tana, tell your driver (I assume you, as a tourist, wouldn't drive, would you ?) that Malaza is very near to the Royal city of Ambohimanga, about 17 km from the city center. Tell him to pass through Sab-Nam (Sabotsy Namehana), Antsofinondry then Anosy Avaratra. Next village on his way to Ambohimaga is Lazaina (14 km). At...more
..or, "Malaza ~ The reported origins"A brief attempt at describing the origins of "Malaza". "Malaza" literally means "Well-known". For years, I've been wondering what our beloved village could be well-known for. I've looked around & compared my "Malaza" to other villages in the area. Nothing could make it well-known, at lesser extent, better known...more
What I like most about sunsets is not really watching the sun setting, rather the play of warm lights on water surfaces, on carmin & ochre walls, on the diversified canvases that are locals faces. On the latter, mostly, smiles, dreaming eyes while watching the red, orange, purple skyline; taking advantage of the last warm rays of the day before...more