Market day in Fianarantsoa

Tuesday is market day here. I went there to find some spices and may be vanilla. Several streets, a whole section of the town, had been converted to an open air market. One street had only used clothes and shoes, long rows full. Other streets had farm products. Potatoes, green pepper, carrots, bananas, mangoes, beans, rice, maize and lots of other produce. There was dried fish, eggs, live chicken, ducks. One man had about twenty big ducks and when I was there it was almost closing time, and he had not sold his ducks so he had to take them home again. He just drove them before him through the busy streets, guiding them with a long stick. If one strayed off to look for some food along the way he just poked it back on to the path. The first duck in the line was probably ten meters ahead of him, but knew where to go. She turned right into another street, the whole flock following behind in line. Last came the man.

Other parts again had spices and dried herbs. I found cinnamon bark, various kinds of pepper, muscat nuts, cloves. But I did not find vanilla. Obviously that was not in demand for the customers at this market. No one haggled me or tried to catch my attention, even though I thought I would be regarded as a good customer. The place was full of people, so that it was slow to walk, but still very peaceful.

Sorry I can’t capture the smells here!

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