I was tired (from jet-lag) and hungry (from knowing neither the language nor where to find food). I had also just been forced out of my hotel room, check-out being at noon. Thus, having been in Madagascar less than twenty-four hours, I was on my own in the capital to find some sort of afternoon adventure. Thankfully, adventure presented itself, and with the help and advice of the “English-trying” hotel receptionist, I was ushered into a taxi, on my way to (if I understood correctly) a nearby Crocodile Farm.
The driver and I tried, but quickly gave up, communicating with one another as we made our way through the crowded streets, and after only a few minutes I saw the sign pointing left: “Croc Farm 3km!” “Oh boy! We’re almost there!” I thought.
And that was when we turned right. “Oh dear…”
I looked at the driver. He seemed unperturbed. I pointed toward the missed turn, questioning, “Croc Farm?” He said sounds back to me, and off we went away from the Croc Farm.
It was not long, however, before I realized where we were going. We pulled into a gas station, but alas, they were out of gas! We circled to another gas station. Out of luck there too! Thus, about two hundred yards later, the cab’s fuel gauge far past empty, my first adventure rolled and sputtered to a sudden stop.
I did eventually make it to the Croc Farm. The driver went and borrowed a cell phone battery from a nearby street vendor, and about twenty minutes later the hotel receptionist drove up to get me. He left the taxi driver stranded with his cab, and took me to see the thousands of crocodiles.
Later that evening I met Bishop McGregor for the first time. Over dinner, I told him about my first little woebegone adventure. I expected some shock and pity. But he was unfazed. “Yeah,” he said, “that tends to happen with the cabs here.”
Welcome to Madagascar!