I was so ecstatic to find out I was going to Madagascar for work – mainly because I new I would be in basket heaven! If you ever find yourself in Tananarive (the main airport to fly anywhere else on the island) and you have some time to kill en route to your holiday destination near the coasts, take a taxi to the main market and you’ll be very happy you did. It took us 2 hours to walk from the beginning to the end.
Along the way you are cheered on by merchants wanting you to experience their little hokkie, with millions of baskets hanging from the ceiling and any other craft made from straw and raffia. To choose a basket will take you about an hour due to the exhausting selection of baskets and of course the clutches – which are so bright with beautiful pattern! I promise you will want one in every colour.
Don’t bother haggling ‘cos the prices are excellent and you feel a bit when you consider the environment they’re in – I was most humbled on my return. I wish I had bought some vanilla pods but I remember the last time landing at Cape Town International there was a beagle smelling out everyone’s luggage to make sure there was no food. I don’t think I could handle that level of embarrassment!