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* Christmas trees on the run

December 15, 2015

Christmas in Antananarivo, Madagascar brings back many memories. Hot tratry ny krismasyand humid days (some of the hottest of the year), rains which fell so hard it sounded like they were going to come through the tin roofs, flooding the lower part of town, the markets full of fresh fruit. There were a few Christmas decorations and presents in some of the stores, but not much in the way of Christmas music (outside of the almost nightly Christmas programs).

But one of the interesting things about Christmas in this far off land was christmas tree salesmanbuying a Christmas tree. Where we lived, near the center of town, there were Christmas trees for sale outside the front of Prisunic, the only big store (2 floors! with an escalator! that sometimes worked!) in town back in those days. However, unlike here in the US where there’s generally just one or two people selling a whole lot of trees, in Madagascar, each tree came with its own salesperson. However, to just look at the state of things, it often looked more like a pile of trees than anything else.

However, walking in the direction of these trees (across the street from Prisunic by the taxi stand) resulted in all of the trees on sale that day suddenly coming to life and running at you full speed, each with its own spokesman holding it out in front of them, with just their feet visible below the tree, telling you as they ran at you what a wonderful tree it was, what a good deal it was, how fresh it was and on and on. Seen from afar, it literally looked like a small forest that went running back and forth in the road in front of Prisunic, running towards the potential clients who approached these aggressive salesmen. Up close and personal, it was more than a little intimidating to suddenly have 10 0r 15 pine trees in your face, the salesman’s face peering around the side of them. For further emphasis, once the salesmen were upon you, they’d pound the base of their trees on the pavement as they told you what a great deal it was, how fresh it was, etc. And not only that, but once you had settled on a tree, much to the disappointment of the other salesmen, the more assertive ones would then trail you with their tree, encouraging you to buy another one!

From → Madagascar

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