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Just a warning: bring your patience with you.
While having our diner (breakfast, noon lunch..), we got really surprised by the attitude of waiters there.
In many restaurants, tea parlours, it is so common that waiters would not hurry to take your order. Even worse, I experienced something a bit irritating in an Indian snack. I ordered some sambos and drinks, installed myself then waited. We had to remind the waiter about our order before she brought our drinks and something to eat.
Some of us could eat "straight away", not me. Instead, I waited for my sambos and when I called her to remind of my order, she said that they were short of sambos.
In the Indian-run hotel I stayed, I once ordered croissants and was given pains au chocolat (!). My plateau was on time BUT... I had to call the waitress who delivered it in my terrasse to ask about it. She just told me she replaced the croissants by pains au chocolat since they run out of stock (!). As unshamelessly simple as that... :))
I just warn about the less professionnal attitude of catering and accomodation personnel there. When I went in some places in Tana, Antsirabe and Toamasina, I was always advised, quite straight away, when something was missing or impossible, when there is shortage of the meal I asked for.
This careless attitude is due to the moramora feature of the island, moramora meaning "doucement, doucement" or "slowly, slowly". And, above all, probably because in 98, Mahajanga just began to open to the flux of tourists and holidaymakers.
[Picture shows another place where to have drinks. Nothing to have with the snack I described above.]
Updated Aug 26, 2004
While driving to the warmest area of Madagascar, have your car reviewed... For tourists, make sure your driver checked everything before setting sail.
On my trip to Mahajanga, we took a 4WD with AC. Everything went OK except when at a time, we had to stop at a place due to some roadworks. We were waiting there for hours, got really nervous since it was in the beginning of the afternoon, where heat is at its highest level.
We didn't know but while trying to adjust the AC system, the result was the opposite of what we wanted. From a normal heat of 28°C, the AC system messed up and we had to make do with some 40°C. I was suffering since trying to go out was even worse with the smell of hydrocarbures (macadam)...
Written Aug 6, 2003