A big American warship is floating proudly in the bay. It is resting after carrying its athletic cargo of trainee marines across the seas. Meanwhile the sailors explore Diego, finding its arms (and legs) wide open.
The ship is an impressive sight, almost making the bay look smaller than it is. As I took my late afternoon stroll, I wasn’t the only white face taking photos.
The population of Diego seems to increase when the American ship is in port as the town blossoms with possibility. People from the outlying districts don their best attire to play their part in the atmosphere.
For the good time girls that Antsiranana is famous for, this is better than Christmas. Other men come in to town with money throughout the year but this is something else. This is glamour, as if life from the films has come to town. Apparently, even the highest quality girls, with no desperate need for money, will put on their best outfits and come out.
I assumed this was because the sailors were big time customers of the Diego ladies’ charms. But a local man assured me that the girls are looking for action, even without payment – a rare occurrence indeed, and one I find hard to believe quite frankly. But apparently, they want the kudos of saying they’ve been with an American sailor. Odd considering it can’t be hard to get laid when a warship full of horny men dock in town.
Why, I pondered, were the sailors exciting enough to warrant such special attention.
Everyone loves a sailor
Just as I was getting patronising about local girls’ excitement at the sailors, I was reminded that its not limited to Malagasy girls.
An odd twist of fate meant I sat down to watch Episode 1 of Sex in the City (series 5), only to discover it is called ‘Anchors Away’ and is about an American warship docking in New York. The four Sex in the City ladies pass the episode against a background of the excitement caused by the City being full of sailors.
I’m tickled by the idea of the same young men having adventures with Carrie and Samantha in New York and the young nubile ladies of Diego.
It turns out you really can see the world, and its ladies, if you’re an open minded marine.
Feeling amused and less snooty about the whole thing, I popped out in the car this afternoon to get some shopping. Suddenly I saw two strapping, chiselled and awfully handsome US marines walking my way.
And yes, I felt a flutter and my pulse quicken as I pointedly stared straight forward and concentrated on my driving.
I don’t know what the magic is but climbed down off my high horse and enjoyed an envious affinity with the local girls in their tiny, sparkly dresses heading out to find their own little adventure with their US marines.