Monday, October 2, 2000
At the very North end of Madagascar: Diego-Suarez, a nice but windy (you can’t walk around without constantly removing dirt from your eyes) town which has a quite large harbour. My mom and the women in my family had warned us of the Diego girls: “Be aware! The girls in Diego bewitch you. They will make you stay there! They are so pretty, they wash your feet and do everything for you - and thou shalt never come back.” For some reason, during our whole stay in Diego, we were never approached by any girls who wanted to wash our feet. However, we did see quite a few vazahas who got stuck in Diego, most often men with some feet-washing (I guess) Malagasy girls.
Especially on the beach in Ramena, about 20km from Diego, you will find a large number of tanned Europeans with a feet-washing girl on their left arm and a cocktail in their right hand. There were also a lot of tourists who probably spent their whole vacation lying on the beach instead of exploring the vicinity.
In Diego, in addition to the Europeans, you will find Chinese people who, in most cases, have a lot of money and own restaurants and hotels. East-Indian people who typically run stores (auto parts, crafts, groceries, everything). And an Austrian who organizes excursions. Also, in the morning, you can hear the call for the muslims who are typically from the Comores. Unfortunately, the Malagasy, who are still the majority, only work for these people and are sometimes not treated with the right amount of respect (in my opinion). It is rare that a Malagasy person runs a bigger business such as a hotel. It is funny, however, to hear a Chinese speak Malagasy.