Take me on another painful ride

The taxi-brousse careers around corners, the wheels screeching with every turn and my white fingers holding onto my seat lest I crash into my fellow passengers . Of course the others are used to it, and I should be too after South America though I still find myself mentally composing the words to my epitaph: Here lies Paul Bertner, he got himself into this mess and this time, he obviously couldn’t find his way out.

The ride is 8hrs long, a long time to hold onto your fear and so gradually I relinquished my grip on my seat, crashed into the police officer and the little girl and just went with the flow. Every so often I try and rearrange my legs though in the end I found myself embracing my inner pretzel. “Final sprint” the gendarme nods to me observing my increasingly frequent changes in position. “Thank God for that!” Two hours later we arrive in Fianarantsoa (Yeah, I can’t pronounce it either). “Are we at Ranomafana yet?” “No, no this taxi-brousse doesn’t go to Ranomafana, we need to take another one”. Ripped off yet again! I hold tight to the gendarme like a suckerfish on a shark. I allow him to navigate us through this bus station and although I wind up paying for his fare I am sure that I am still getting a deal compared to what I would have paid otherwise. Once again I find myself on a taxi-brousse, seated between agony and nausea. We arrive into the small town of Ranomafana 2 hours later. I fall out of the cab and rub the sensation back into my legs. Fortunately the officer invited me to stay in his home for the night. It wasn’t the ritz but his floor was mighty comfortable after a gruelling day of travel. We ate an uninspiring meal of…something. I couldn’t help but feel that travel may be food for the soul, though it’s just as likely to cause indigestion…

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