Saturday, May 29, 2010

11 – L.O.V.E.

Knowing myself I could go on for hours and hours once I’d have gotten started on this subject. Not wanting to lose “all my numerous” readers though I’ll content myself with four short words. I am in love. ..and a couple for numbers:
10 5 1 14     2 5 14 15 9 20     22 9 22 5 20.

10 – Changes, amendments, improvements

I seem to be running in circles, repeating over and over again that life changes all the time – but matter-of-factly it does and so I conclude: better expect the unexpected.
Considering the fact that it’s been a (considerable) while since I’ve launched any witty remark onto this page, I believe it to be all but surprising that some changes may in fact have occurred in my life and the lives of quite a few people I hold very dear. First things first: I’d like to note that I am truly thrilled by the fact that the Edwards/Sullivan/Nakigane clan is constantly growing is size AND loveliness! Well done everybody – and be rewarded with the knowledge that you make it extremely hard for me to resist the urge to come and see you right away!

What else happened lately?
Well, right now I am not moving to another country – neither to Liberia nor Nigeria. As a matter of fact I am about to stay in (or on) Madagascar (I never quite know when it comes to the correct choice of proposition ;p – and perhaps I should rephrase the “fact” as a “plan” until I have actually found another job that would allow me to stay on my beloved island) any case, a big adventure for little Leo, for it means I’d be about to settle down least for a bit ;) It means staying in one and the same place for a little longer than the average 6 months I have come to know as my recurring time pattern (Halbwertzeit)! But surprise! This thought – id est the one about not leaving the very moment things actually seem to be falling into place – has been welcome for quite a while…up till now, it’s implementation hadn’t proven all that feasible though.

..another 3 months later:
Well, even now I am not moving to another country – neither to Liberia nor Nigeria ;p least not in the mid or long term. True true, I have been paying a couple of visits to a number of old (and new) friends in the meantime, touching ground in France, Germany, Croatia and Mozambique ;) but I feel that my heart belongs to Madagascar..beautiful, enchanting Madagascar which offered me a feeling of “home sweet home” right from the start.
Now that I’ve actually signed all the paperwork for my new job – and as a matter of fact already started to operate again in the field!! oh oh, aaaaaand liking it an awful lot for I continue in my favorite branch: microfinance – I think I can stop dreaming about temporarily settling down..I think I’m just doing it – right now!! Sweet!
Truth be told there are of course a couple of intriguing ideas which may relate to a time after Madagascar – ever heard of Costa Rica..or the Moon? ;) – but they are about as feasible as the dessert you might be planning on having for Christmas Eve while enjoying – to the fullest – your delicious Fondant au Chocolat on Easter Sunday!

Long story short – I love my Fondant au Chocolat! Life is good to me… :D Job: check. Feeling at home: check. Love: double-check ;p 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

8.1 Main Body – and one too many Mojitos in My Body

Ok, here is what happened on that last Thursday evening I got to run ;p

A few preliminary questions:
Where?  (Le) Manson – a bar in close proximity (a detail of not entirely inconsequential importance) which lures the good people of Tana in by promiscuously offering 2 Mojitos for 1 – Thursdays only!
When?  From seven to eleven..or so :)
Who?  “Me and a couple grooms out” – I’m sure not less than a zillion US rapper must have used that catchy phrase already which makes it a bit second-hand, but hey, whateeeeeva :D
Why?  I guess the answer is given in the second half of “where” – thus no need for redundancy ;p
As for the What? ….it all started rather composedly: Four fairly relaxed young professionals meeting up for an after work drink at the bar of their choice – certainly not necessarily an extraordinarily electrifying event…But (!) not entirely unexciting neither. Some catching up, some sympathy for Lady Vengeance – oh, I mean hard working hours…a couple of decently intellectual observations, a couple of good jokes….and a couple more (…) drinks. To sum up, a nice way of spending an evening.

As characteristically for such gatherings, the moving hourglass lead the conversations to become…more animated – and I wouldn’t completely deny the apparent lack of victuals which I erroneously thought had passed my tummy that day to figure among the various causes of the ever-increasing merriment, for - right after the first half of the first glass - the sugary concoction declared as Mojito denied the full-size banana grin to leave my face for good (or to lower the volume of my vocal cords) ….seems like I’m not that much of a drunkard after all if half a Mojito turns me into Eleri’s favorite Happy-Face and three of that sort make my world spin (no reference to the former blog entry though ;p). Guess I should stick to my usual diet and continue gulping down “high-spirited” fruit juice or lemon tea when going out ;p
Gosh, but I was at my best that evening – and the audience was wonderful :D a result, one bad joke chased the other and we would but laugh whole-heartedly about every single one of them.. oh, and for good or bad: All the gibberish that left my mouth during those lucid hours of mine would - with all likelihood - have found its way into the world of hearing no matter the percentage of “water” in my drink. Hence, I think it is safe to say that strawberry juice would - almost certainly - have had exactly the same impact on my mood…this said, my capability of walking a straight line would however have evolved differently. Eventually I was more than thankful for the before mentioned proximity between the clubbing and sleeping ground – less tricky and risky to get lost on a 150m way to bed ;p

Now of course the Manson is not the only “inn” the neighborhood..there is Le B, too – an Asian inspired Lounge Restaurant in about 30 seconds walking distance (we actually share the same street entrance) which features an excellent cuisine and friendly service (ok, the personnel is rather flirty but hence also very attentive to your every wish :D ).

If you want to shake it we talk however “Mojo” (do I here Beba calling? ;p – sorry for the many who won’t understand that inside joke) – another hot spot within the next 500m which is sharing its musical taste with us..less restaurant style, more bar and not very creative on its playlist – but eventually I would always end up on the dance floor!

THE place to be though is certainly the Buddha Club and Restaurant – ostentatiously decorated on two levels underground the Asian monk is quite impressive. Being not that much of an It-Girl or counting among the city’s party elite, I have however not passed the threshold of young-Tana’s sactuary more than once or twice…

But let’s proceed and complete the list: Amongst the various locations known to me (and be it by name only) we shall not omit the Six, the Glacier, the Pandora or the Bus (a nice after-clubbing chill-out-place) – oh, and since a bit over a month the Pharaon SUPER CLUB (very important that last bit of information! – a shame though that the degree of “superness” is sooooo high, it’s really already dreadfully bad!).

Now you might – after all that lengthy talk (I’m still hoping that those of you beloved readers who do actually follow me up to this point do appreciate the latter – otherwise I’d be very sorry…say, if someone MADE you read it because you’ve been naughty :p ) – have noticed that I haven’t even come to the point that justified the second half of the original title, i.e. how to wrench your ankle in the first place. Well, I’ll make that a ridiculously short one – the most recommendable ingredient, amazingly sure to deliver success, is to dance on high heels (you’re not used to dance on) on a very uneven terrain – preferably by night so you wouldn’t see where you are dancing to. Make that a private evening at a friend’s house and you can’t even sew a big club owner for it (sorry, that was a bit of the “American spirit” ;p

Soooooooooooo, now that you know about everything there is to know about Tana’s night lift (kidding of course, I haven’t told you anything about restaurants, pool and KARAOKEEEEEE), I’d say good night and sweet dreams….

Thursday, November 26, 2009

8 – Lil’ Leo’s late night stories or how to wrench your ankle

What a dilemma! I feel the time has come to keep me promise and finally give you a truthful account on Tana’s night life..and yet I’m dying to introduce you to “La Brousse”, the picturesque provinces around the capital. Hmmmmmm….due to the fact that the wrenched ankle has had its impact on some of the outta-town ventures, I guess the story of how it came to be in the first place – and the keeping of my promise – prevail :D
Well then, here we go..nightlife in the capital, and the fundamental question: What to do on a lazy evening such as Friday…or Thursday…or Wednesday…..or yet even Tuuuuuesday (?!! – for the weekend starts early in Tana’s expat bubble) I personally try to get a good night’s sleep on the latter three occasions – but that’s only me adhering to a minority it appears, for the music echoing through the night by Thursday the latest is harshly disputing my opinion - oh, and our neighbor’s rooster, starting to train for “StarAcademy ” at around 4 in the morning, doesn’t seem to share my preferences for sleep neither ;p
But then again, I’m living in one of Tana’s “hot spots”, an “it-place”, an “in-district”…so after all I really shouldn’t complain about the opportunities to enjoy myself after 6pm, now should I?

Main Body:
To be continued…. ;p I know I know….I’ll get there eventually – just gotta run’s Thursday evening and night life is calling :D

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

7 – To Life….to happiness

Life changes – both you and itself….and mine, it seems, is not merely floating like the often quoted stream, but it’s spinning....whirling around so I wouldn’t always know when to stop and when to possibly catch my breath.
Right now I am happy – simply exhilaratingly happy..I have, for that matter, never been quite able to see the trouble of paranoia associated with the recurring saying “it couldn’t get any better”….it’s a simple question to ask, for why would I worry to fail in holding on to something as ephemeral as luck and happiness? What chance lies there in catching thin air with a sieve? Ambiguous beings they are, fragile and delicate - and yet….so powerful, so fierce at times.
One should not try to delay their parting..nor mourn about it, for how could we hope to meet again without a goodbye. Instead I may content myself to simply enjoy happiness the moment is chooses to grace my days and honor its presence with a smile and wholehearted laughter.
And so my decision has been taken – has been taken many years ago already….a decision to follow another path where hospitality shall be my virtue whenever happiness crosses my way.…with open arms and open eyes shall I welcome it in its many disguises, and at this offer it the truest of amities.
Yet never shall I endeavor to stall my friend, to bind what can’t be bound….for surely we both need to breathe.
But what is all that silly talk about leaving? – For now….for now I am happy – simply, exhilaratingly happy. come so many of us are blind to your essence and yet treasure you with so absurd an intensity?

Happiness according to Word 2007 ;p contentment/ pleasure/ gladness/ cheerfulness/ joy/ glee/ bliss/ delight/ exhilaration/ ecstasy
....and of course I fear losing it - like everybody else. And it hurts.

Friday, October 2, 2009

SIX it is – but which 1 ;p ? Six feet under? The sixth sense? On the six? Precisely six o’ clock – or sixish?

….hm, rather 2 actually – 2 AM, for that would most accurately describe the time I used to be done with work and finally fall fast asleep during the past 3 to 4 weeks. Why? the observant reader might ask – well, a short term project with an even shorter time horizon kept me awake and in fact quite busy even after six J …but I don’t complain – I genuinely love my job and have enjoyed working on that particular project at lot…as on every other I’ve come across thus far at AccèsBanque actually (guess I better, otherwise I’d get seriously depressed working those late hours which seem to have skipped 4 or 5 time zones).
Anyway, now that no more market studies are substituting my good night sleep I actually have a minute or two to spare on some more creative writing. Question is, what would you like to read about? Any suggestions? No? – So it’s up to me then…again ;p
Well, life offers a number of topics, among them the following: (1) Lil’ Leo’s motorized adventures (or cruising till the engine pops); (2) the promised night life story/ies (oder “tanzen bis der Arzt kommt”); ou encore (3) why fabric is a wonderful invention.
How about this? – I’ll start with (1) and see how (far ;p) it goes from there. By the way, for those who have read the previous article – marked by a more serious, politically inflicted undercurrent – be assured that there is not much more to comment about at the moment (unless I felt so inclined as to shoot some more ironic remarks about Andry’s impressive speech at the UN general assembly ;) For now I may as well lighten up my log again but promise to follow up on the more serious subjects when time calls for it.
Here we go then, light hearted and with a big grin:
Lil’ Leo’s motorized adventures or cruising till the engine pops
As some of you may have already heard I’ve recently joined the league of motorized citizens, for I now call a little (very cute – and blue!) scooter my own...oooh, we go waaaaaay back really (over 8 weeks by tomorrow!!) Oh, and the fact that I totally comply with the female cliché of not calling my vehicle by its brand but its color is mainly due to my actual, initial (!) ignorance about the former. An Aston Martin Vanquish would certainly go by its beautiful name should I ever call one of those my own – which is, I agree, rather unlikely :D As for my blue cutie pie…well seriously, who would have guessed that “El matador” is in fact a brand name and not just some catchy bumper sticker? I didn’t. Now of course I’m converted – and blissful to have gained valuable knowledge about Chinese scooter brands..eeehm, about one at least ;p
Long story short (at usual), it is a whole lot of fun saddling my blue stallion (or pony) and dashing across the wide fields (or crowded narrow streets of Tana) before giving this truest of companions his well-earned rest (at the gas station or the dealer’s garage). I am actually quite happy that my “Matador” is not showing off with much horse power or else someone would have had to call the meds a long time ago already. Again you may wonder why? Lets just say that traffic around here is…hm, how best to describe it? – aaah, “unpredictable”, that’s what it is. Caps, Taxis B, motorcycles, scooters, and pedestrians! Lots and lots of pedestrians - staying, walking, running and prone to be crossing the street at any given moment you’re not a 100 per cent focused on all (!!) that is, has or will be happening around you. Thus far I haven’t – and have not BEEN – hurt or gotten into any serious trouble. Also, I’ve overcome my initial jumpiness gaining on me before every ride and now happily pump along our often cobbled streets. It actually feels like rodeo from time to time. And I like it! – a lot :D …until the other day when my horseee started uttering some rather threatening sounds!
What had happened? Had I starved it? So soon? – ooooh, what a bad cowgirl I’d be! I couldn’t have been that careless, now could I? Nonetheless, I pushed my bonny lad forward to the next barn to feed the faithful friend and with a little assistance of some grinning but helpful grooms (I must have caused quite a laugh, for on top of the little girl pushing her scooter, a wrenched ankle caused me to hobble and bared me form quickstarting the engine myself) I managed to mount my shiny vehicle and bounced home…how relieved I was that night – I’d only have to nourish my baby a little more often, I though.
…the next morning though: nothing! Not a single hobbling, bobbling, wobbling, toddling, and no more bouncing, shambling, shuffling, staggering or tottering. ----Blue bronco kept silent----
Poor thing.
Lucky me that the garage is not far and the mechanic offering home service. So, after a good 15 minutes of unscrewing and screwing, a constantly running engine (don’t ask me how the wise man managed the last part since I could even make the fellow sputter) and some obviously very successful pottering around my azure thunderbolt was roaring again and lil’ leo happy to gallop through the Malagasy summer haze.
The End. (though I’ll let you know how long we canter this time ;p)

Next on Parlez-vous Malagasy – Lil’ Leo’s late night stories or how to wrench your ankle in the first place.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mambo Nr 5

..though the title would suggest me to follow through with my original plan and introduce you to the local night life, hip swinging, booty shaking, cocktail nipping and culinary degustation à la française, I will take another direction and get all serious, for there are times when politics are more important than dancing.

When applying for the position at AccèsBanque I associated Madagascar mostly with Baobabs and an ecstatic, pixar animated lemur, singing “I like to move it move it!”. Quite frankly, I was largely ignorant to the complex cultural and historical background..consequently I had totally skipped the 2002 crisis that had, already back in the days, stirred some wild uproar in the country.... But then I got the call! I’m in! – I got the job with LFS/AccèsBanque Madagascar and I would start climbing big trees to become a cute primate’ best friend by the beginning of August! Of course lil’ Leo was thrilled and got all excited (who wouldn't?) – the excitement however seemed to be quite in vogue at her future new home, too. To make a long – and complicated – story short: old regime, abuse of power, discontentment, riots, and coup d’état in the name of democracy… Result(s)? New leadership, the obligatory persecution of past-regime-supporters, a lot of commotion in the streets causing dozens of dead civilians, and the slightly skeptical question: democracy - where does it start..and even more important: where does it end? 

You might understand that my dad was far from sharing the beforehand mentioned thrill lighthearted considering the prospect of seeing his darling daughtelidoo wander off and right into a political uprising. “We’ll see how the situation evolves, ok daddy? Sure thing I’ll be in the States for the next couple of months anyway and we’ll see how it goes from there…”
And indeed the situation seemed to calm down after the violent outbursts in March and April, all parties involved – i.e. the new head of state (a former DJ), the old president who had fled the country, and even the two generations that had preceded Ravalomanana in ruling the country – gathered around big table in Maputo, Mozambique, to find a solution under the vigilant eyes of the international community… ok, let me rephrase: to negotiate aka bargain over the terms of a transitional administration under the decreasingly vigilant eye of the international community – for WHO has heard about the outcome of this gathering? Well, in case your local news channel wasn’t all eyes and ears lately: the “Treaties of Maputo” (i.e. having a joint governance of the four main forces in the country until all preparations are made to hold the next democratic elections…in about 15 months) were violated almost instantaneously by young and dynamic Andry Rajoelina…totally understandable, isn’t it? I mean, what other options to handle the situation were left since after 2 days (!) no agreement could be found as to who should actually play president, prime minister, etc., then to take power into one’s own hands directly? What? don't tell me! - YOU could have come up with an alternative? Hm, too bad nobody told Angry then, wouldn't you agree?
Under the given circumstances however the summer heat that is slowly building was emphasized by a new wave of politically motivated protests and vandalism that left its mark in the city center. «Et c’est reparti, cela ne se calmera donc jamais» (And there we go again, it will thus never calm down) were allegedly the words of a young woman standing nearby when the windows started breaking again in Analakely. Be assured that I stayed away from any high-temperature site and spent a rather calm weekend at home..the bits and bites of information we get leave an open question though as to how the situation will evolve. For now it seems safe enough to stay here and should you not be looking for trouble most likely no harm is down to you. Still, I personally recommend to refrain from wandering around alone at night or from doing unnecessary shopping on the “Rue d’Indépendence”.
Ok folks, stay tuned for updates..I certainly will.

Here are some links that might give some insight – French will however be crucial for deciphering the content: