Friday, September 3, 2010

Just like Horses

"Look mama, they have such funny horses here, they look just like people!"

I was reminded of this quote when we were walking in Antsirabe last weekend. It came from an 1968-booklet which belonged to my grandma, entitled: 'Juf, er zit een weduwe in de boom' ('Teacher, See that Widow in theTree' - referring to a black crow) in the same series as 'Teacher, that Butterfly is Wearing my Pyjamas'. The booklet has funny quotes from children, the above came from a 3-year old boy who observed rickshaw drivers in Singapore.

Seen from the eyes of a 3-year old, the skinny, muscular men running in front of their carriages that carry passengers do remind of horses. I am talking about pousse-pousse drivers. In Antsirabe you can still find hundreds of them. In fact, they are so many, and there are so few tourists that you can guess what will happen. They harass you.

'Madame, madame prends-moi, Gilbert numero trois, Bernard, numero cinq, Christian numero douze. Take me, take me, the guys are promoting themselves as if they are race horses in a betting competition.

Nicely painted Pouss-Pousse (Tire-Tire)

In fact, they are so annoying that you end up walking. And that's a pity, because we all know they need the money, and we need the rides. But no, I don't think they look like horses. What I am wondering about is what they call them 'pousse-pousse' in french, while clearly they don't push but pull! Could it be cause they're so pushy?


  1. i think here is something obscene about being transported by anything human powered...

  2. I couldn't agree almost felt embarrassed to take a ride.

  3. I was in Madagascar for 2 months in 2001 and took one ride from a Pousse Pousse while in Mahajanga and I still feel guilty. Although, when you think about it, it is just a form of taxi. In the Philippines they have the motorbike powered "Pousse Pousse", which contributes greatly to the polution. Next time I visit Madagascar I think I'll try to use the human powered taxi and just think of it as an opportunity to provide a big tip for the guy.