Day 313: Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud

09.11.09:

Grr. I’m highly aggravated today, it’s probably best if you keep a safe distance. First up, I get out of bed at the ungodly hour of 6am. Then I head down to the taxi-brousse area (it takes up a good kilometre of road) and ask around for the next bus to Diego, over 1000km away. I was hoping to leave in the morning and arrive tomorrow afternoon sometime.

So I’m herded to a wooden shack, which apparently has a bus leaving ‘very soon’. I ask when exactly and I’m told eight to half-eight. Great I think, buy a ticket and jump on board.

Now, I’m more than used to the fact that Africans have more hassles with the concept of time than your average citizen of Gallifrey, so I wasn’t too fussed when we left, just as long as we left in the morning. By midday, I was still waiting, and my patience was beginning to fray. I demanded to know what the hell was going on – here’s what was going on, the bus wasn’t leaving until 3pm at the earliest. The goddamn tout had just bare-faced lied to me. I demanded my money back; I’d use a different company, one that doesn’t have so much cheek, eh? And maybe I’ll get a bus with a cigarette lighter socket that WORKS so I can plug my laptop in and write on the road – how do you like those apples?

No.

What do you mean, no? I spat in my best pidgin French.

No refunds.

You have to be kidding me.

I went and got a policeman – he shrugged and said there was nothing he could do. But they lied to me! Sorry dude, you pays your money, you takes your chances. I screamed blue murder at the squinty-eyed git with the foamy mouth corners (rabies, I hope) who took my money and was now looking rather smug. I kicked the damn minibus and got in. By now, it was 1pm – there wasn’t enough time to do anything, it was blazing hot and I had all my bags with me. If I had known that the bus wasn’t going to leave until 3pm, I would have spent the day checking out the sights and sounds of good old Antananarivo.

The bus didn’t actually leave until 7pm.

Now I’m sitting squished in a minibus hurtling through the night air over some of the windiest roads in the world typing this blog and trying to keep calm. The DAL Madagascar, bless it’s great big cotton socks, saved me an entire day, something I have in short supply here on The Odyssey, and I’ve just gone and wasted it. Gah!

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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