Friday, October 16, 2009
"If you don't know what it is don't touch it" : A Day of Marine Safety
This past Monday, our training day was devoted entirely to learn, hands-on, about marine safety. From 8 AM to 6:30 PM we visited two beach resorts and the southeastern coast of Upolu - the very place that was hit by the September 29th Tsunami. In fact, what was originally planned to be an 8.5-hour trip to select locations around Upolu ended up as a 10.5 hour road trip around the entire island.
We hired some locals to take us around in one of Samoa's popular public buses for the day. The bus amazingly appeared to come out of some 8-year old's imagination. In fact, if an 18th century whaling vessel bus ever existed - this would be it. Its interior is entirely comprised of wood and its glassless windows have a peculiar resemblance to those small round windows that appear along the side of old ships. I'm also quite certain that the same child that designed the bus's exterior also had some input on the bus's mechanical makeup: the bus produced more pollution than an EPA violating plutonium-producing energy plant. Moreover, the convenient absence of shock absorbers proved to be quite trying after hours of traveling around the pot-holed streets of Samoa.
As a way of detering speeding, the government of Samoa placed speed bumps all over the island. So what should have been a 4 hour drive actually took us 6 hours, and it certainly didn't help that our bus maxes out at a speed of 35 mph. Also, it is worth mentioning that our bus driver thought that a 9-song playlist would be adequate for our 6-hour ride. However, the bus driver liked only 4 out of the 9 songs and as a result he replayed those 4 particular songs throughout the ride. The bus driver especially enjoyed a Samoan rap song, which he played relentlessly. By the end of the 10-hour bus ride I dizzily stumbled off the bus feeling beaten after having endured the hard wooden seats; the thrashing about in our shock absorber-less bus; and the mind-numbing vibrations emanating from the massive subwoofer that lay next to my feet.