When traveling makes you scratch your head

April 20, 2011

You know those moments when you’re traveling in a far away place or even just the next town over and you see someone doing something that makes no sense at all? Where you think to yourself, Seriously? And you’re not sure whether to gape or crack up?

Those moments are copious in Africa. So to start your day off right, here are a few photos from my travels that make me grin:

Catherine, in black — who’s a significant character in my book, one of the four wives from my polygamous family in Cameroon — on her way to market, as though it’s normal to balance a 40-pound bag of potatoes on your head:

Fongo-Ndeng, Cameroon

When I was a little girl, jellies were the “in” footwear (though I never found them to be all that comfortable). Now, 25 years later, they’re popular with teenage boys in parts of Africa. They’re cool in hot weather, fare well in rain and have a toe that’s solid enough for soccer games. But every time I saw a guy wearing them, I had to keep myself from telling him that chez moi, those were little girls’ shoes:

Dschang, Cameroon

Wait, are you telling me this isn’t what your electricity outlets look like at home?

Kayes, Mali

Just another commute in Madagascar:

Maroansetra, Madagascar

Repairing the “bridge” you’re about to drive over has a way of making you miss delays caused by construction:

Eastern Madagascar

“Do you mind if we pull over for a minute? I have to feed my chicken in the trunk.”

Ambositra, Madagascar

Shopping for intimates on the crowded streets of Accra, Ghana’s capital (yeah, it’s not very intimate):

Accra, Ghana

Oh, l’Afrique…

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