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* Christmas Eve by the side of the road, part II

December 25, 2018

By Christmas Eve morning we were a soggy, very tired mess, having discovered that in fact straw mats only slowed down rainfall, letting all of it seep through on anyone silly enough to think they’d keep them dry.

After some breakfast (while we ate food during our stay by the road, I only remember one meal which was of freshly cooked lobster someone brought by. Why they had cooked lobster I don’t know–for us, I suppose–but they were very good and we were very happy.) But after breakfast, someone realized we could fit a small tree into the center of the spare tire for a Christmas tree. This we did, decorating it with the tinfoil inner wrappers of the chocolate bars we must have been eating. And then there arrived my parents and brother, in the same “taxibe” (bush taxi) that had taken them up to Manantenina the previous day. Together with a welded part. This was bolted back onto the pickup and we were off. Except the battery was dead. But that wasn’t anything a bit of a push couldn’t fix and we were off.

What became a bit more complex on the journey back home was each of the 5 “bac” (car size, hand-pulled via a rope) ferries as they generally weren’t on the right side of the river. So if the engine quit before the bac got to our side it meant pushing the pickup up onto the bac. And don’t you suppose on one of them I managed to put my hands through the back window of the pickup and cut my arm. So, when we finally got to town it was another half hour ride out to the hospital where I got my arm stitched up. And then, finally, we were on our way home, on a Christmas Eve not to be forgotten. And I haven’t.

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