Here’s a little tale of roadside assistance, Malagasy-style. It’s hard for a non-mechanically-minded person such as myself to describe so bear with me. It doesn’t help that every time I think about it I dissolve into fits of giggles either.
We were about halfway back to Antananarivo from Andasibe when we pulled up behind a white truck on the right side of the road that had pulled over. We held back as there was a cart carrying building materials being pulled by two zebu coming towards us up the hill and we had to give way. A red truck had also been travelling in front of us and, once the zebu were out of the way, started to make its way round the white truck.
Just as the red truck was right alongside the white truck, it slowed right down and a guy threw what looked (to me) like a small log under the wheel… at which point the front trailer keeled over to the left and I honestly thought the truck was going to roll down the embankment to the side. We (much, much) later found out that, at that moment, the red truck’s brakes failed just as it was preparing to stop to jumpstart the white truck.
So, we now had two big trucks side by side in front of us meaning we were stuck. I was busting for the loo (sod’s law) and we were about 40 minutes from Tana as it was. Many men just stood on the side of the road and did their business but being a lady I was not about to do that so it was in to the thorny scrub for me. Of course as soon as I’d found a suitable spot it looked like we were about to get moving.
But oh, no. We weren’t. We were there for at least another hour while all manner of madness occurred. But rather than bore you with words, I will again let some pictures tell the rest of the story.
End note: As we were leaving, I asked our driver Tahina if this happened often; he just smiled and said “oh yes of course”.
Traffic must stop for this first, before actual traffic jam may occur.
Biker sits there for 20 minutes wondering what to do before realising he can just drive through the middle
Truck (b) nearly tips over because…
I thought this was “How to jack up a truck 101” but I have been informed they didn’t even mean to have it sitting off the ground! Apparently, this is the PARK BRAKE.
What to do, what to do… Six mechanics, 10 truck drivers and 200 onlookers, laughing but offering no solutions, until…
A boy band arrives on the scene
4WDs (and don’t forget gutless AWDs!) get impatient, decide to mount compost heap to get round trucks
Inspired by 4WDs, Lowrider 90s Citroen tries…
…gets bogged in compost.
Needs a push, or ten.
The queue behind us (constantly honking, very helpful)
This is the third truck, trying to get past the other two
A close shave
We’re on our way!
The locals stopped to watch (and laugh)