Cars and herbs

As soon as I had finished my course of antibiotics (5 days) I started to fall back health wise (coughing, sinuses) and so I decided to pay a visit to the doctor, this time going to her office in a part of town that included many ups and downs through narrows roads, jammed with people and cars and thus many traffic jams.

The taxi that the hotel had arranged for me is the typical Tana taxi, a Renault 4LTaxi-4L-Tana. It could have been the even simpler Deux Chevaux (2CV) which we used to call ‘duck (eend)’ in Holland.  My first car was  4L, my second car too I believe, then a 4L camionette a car that is so ugly that I came to love it unconditionally.  It took me from Holland, through Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Sicilie, Italy and back to Holland during one very long summer vacation sometime in the early 70s.

The entrance to the hotel is on top of a traditional mud brick wall with a drive going up and down very steeply. With my fused ankle walking it is a challenge but for the taxi it was a good thing because, as I later found out, he couldn’t start his car with his key so he always needed an incline or help from some strong men to push him for a few meters.

Along the way I saw nearly all the cars I grew up with, at least my dad’s cars since he loved everything French (wine, cheese, bread, and cars). Some of these old Peugeots I remember are still around here, but also Simca’s which I don’t think exist anymore (absorbed by Renault) and my old Renault 5 (called Le Car in the US), in addition to the most ubiquitous 4Ls and 2CVs. A trip down memory lane if ever there was one, maybe the same trippy car experiences Americans have in Cuba.

The doctor concluded that the infection had moved, as I suspected, into the upper respiratory tract but not down in the lungs, my fear. And so I returned to the Pharmacie du Roi with another list of medications, bringing my total healthcare bill here in Tana to about 150 dollars. I am awaiting the victory of modern medicine over traditional medicine such as ginger or lemon syrups and of course the endless cups of hot water with lime and honey I keep in drinking.

I rewarded myself with a massage in a small HomeoParma establishment across the street. I was told I could trust the brand.  I did not want not wander into some sketchy massage place. My concern came from the fact that in the hotel a massage cost 6 times as much.

HomeoPharma is a very homegrown enterprise that, in 25 years has captured the market and apparently not only here. It is now a chain for homeopathic and natural products with a good reputation. I see their signs everywhere. The founder and chief executive tells his story on the website where I found out that he learned his trade from his ancestors and many gurus, including an astrologer and tradition herbalists. His products cover only 10% of the 15000 or so different plants that, I am sure, are still used in the country side.

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