Also known as Andoany, Hell-ville is Nosy Be’s largest town and administrative center. So now the question is, “Where is Nosy Be?” It’s a tropical island on the west side of the northern end of Madagascar, more-or-less around the corner from Antsiranana, formerly known as Diego Suarez, Madagascar (see our previous blog on Ankarana National Park).
We spent the morning touring the local weekly market in Hell-ville. It’s a tropical version of the extensive weekend French and Italian combined farmers’ market and housewares market. The setting was both in the town market building (a permanent structure) and hundreds upon hundreds of stalls and booths lining several streets, running all the way down to the waterfront (see photograph, above). One of the most popular walk-away food items for immediate consumption were the local fried donuts.
The town itself was small but picturesque — both the buildings and the locals.
Unless you walked down very narrow passages between some of the blocks of buildings, you wouldn’t see the local homes that abut the shops and stalls of the main street. While there were clear architectural influences of Western colonists in “town”, the homes were typical third-world shanties.
There were people from all over the island in the market, and the sellers were likewise from across the island, not just the town of Hell-ville. Quite a few picturesque scenes:
At the end of the long stroll through town and the market, we returned to the ship by tender boat. As we were tying up alongside the ship, a half dozen local dug-out canoes came over with carved wooden souvenirs for sale.