Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Transportation Rant

It’s 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.  I’ve been up for over an hour.  Not because I like getting up in the dark on the only day of the week I have to sleep in.  But because I wanted to take the 6:00 a.m. ferry to Upolu, where I could catch the bus to Apia, arriving there about 9:00 a.m. 

I  am trying to get to Apia to attend the Thanksgiving Day dinner that’s being hosted by the U.S. Embassy.  All Peace Corps, the few other Americans working in Samoa and some high ranking Samoan government officials have been invited.

I’m dressed and ready to go.  Unfortunately, the taxi my family called to take me to the wharf didn’t show.  I decided to blow the $20 on a taxi because my other option is to take the bus.  That would mean standing by the road, in the dark, starting at 4:00 a.m. and hoping a bus comes.  There are no bus schedules and sometimes there’s a bus for the early boat and sometimes there’s not.  Once, a bus came and the driver waved as he drove past me.

In addition to the crapshoot of bus transportation, because it is considered inappropriate for me to be alone in the dark, I’d have to find someone to wait with me.  My 18 year old host brother volunteered but I figured a taxi would be easier all the way around.  I figured wrong.

Since I’ve now missed the early boat, I’ll try to catch the bus for the 8:00 ferry.  That means heading out to the road at 6:30.  Still dark, but with a bit of light from the east.  I’ll try to slip past my neighbor’s dogs who like to sleep in the empty lot in front of our compound.  They know me, but have attacked me in daylight and I hate having to pass them in the dark.

Did I mention it’s raining?  And I have a bunch of books I’m returning to the PC office in Apia so my luggage weighs a ton?  Am I feeling really pissed and sorry for myself?  Yes!

As to why the taxi didn’t arrive…it’s not the first time.  He could be sleeping or just forgot.  He might have awakened and just decided the fare wasn’t worth getting up for.  Doing things on a schedule here isn’t important.  So what if I missed the boat?  There’s another one.  And if I miss that, I can take the 12:00 pm boat.  Except that’s when the dinner starts. 

If I don’t get a bus by 7:00 a.m., I’ll come home, go back to bed and call it a day.  Happy belated Thanksgiving!

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