Friday, February 04, 2005

Another Samoan Bus Story

Okay, okay, I realize it’s been nearly a month since my last post, but please, please be patient with me. Peace Corps has drastically reduced the number of hours we are allowed to use the Internet at the office. We can only use it at certain times of the day and this makes it difficult for one to organize her day just to get online and have to battle other volunteers for Internet time. However, I will try my best to keep you all updated on my Peace Corps experience and funny stories that happen to me like the one that happened last Friday. It has to do with riding the Samoan bus here. So if you have not already read the previous post about Samoan buses please do so before continuing on.

After nearly two months of not hanging out with the other volunteers I was really missing their company and decided to take a trip to visit my good friend, Tosi. The plan was that I would get to her house around 5pm and we would go for run (as we’re both training for Samoa’s half marathon in June). I left my house around 4pm and caught my Alafua bus into town, which is about a 15-minute ride. I was then lucky enough to catch her Nu’u bus right away. Tosi had said that it would be about a 45-minute ride and that the bus would go directly in front of where she lived. Tosi does agricultural work and volunteers with the crops division. I have been to her house a couple of times but I’m not extremely geographically familiar with the area but I knew I wouldn’t miss the sign in front of the compound that says “Nu’u Crops Division”. As I was riding the bus I was focused on how relaxed I was just admiring the scenery as we passed plantations and colorful Samoan open fales. After about 40 minutes the bus makes a turn where I think to myself, “I think Tosi’s house is right up the road and if we turn here I will be heading away from it”. I’m confused though because I thought we were supposed to pass directly in front of the compound. I pulled the cord anyway to stop the bus and ask the guy next to me in Samoan if the crops division was back there. He said no and I asked him if the bus goes to the crops division and he said yes. So, I think maybe the bus will make a loop and then pass in front of the crops division. I apologized to the bus driver and said that I didn’t want to get off here. Soon after I became nervous as we began passing houses and churches that I had seen as we came into Nu’u. A few minutes later a woman asked me in English where I was going and I told her. She said that we had already passed it and we were now heading back to Apia. I quickly became pissed. I was pissed at the guy who told me that we hadn’t passed my friend’s house and pissed at myself that I didn’t trust my intuition. However, I had some time on my hands to ponder my situation with a 30-minute ride back to town, 10 minutes to refuel the bus, and 45 more minutes back out to Nu’u. This time the bus did what it usually does and pulled right into the drive of the crops division and I quickly got off. Tosi was worried about me but we all had a good laugh at my misadventure. While sitting on that bus looking out at the same beautiful scenery I had seen just an hour before I reminded myself that time here does not mean the same thing as it does in the States. Time is not money here. I still had a bit of daylight to go running and I would still get to spend a quiet evening with friends and best of all I had a good story to write about.