Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Paul and Rene visit

Our bikes have finally arrived! Now we can be mobile.

I don’t know if I mentioned earlier, but our bikes were delayed. Something to do with an ordering problem and then something to do with shipping. They were supposed to arrive on Dec. 19th, but that was pushed back to arrival in country of Dec. 25th. I am not sure when they actually made it to port, but then they had to go through customs, which can apparently take up to two weeks.

We found out the bike were in the office Friday afternoon on January 4th. Cale, Mike and John (who were out visiting in our village) and I all rushed in to Apia thinking that we could get our bikes together and take them home that night. However, it doesn’t work that way. One, the bikes didn’t come with any assembly instructions. Two, it was late afternoon on a Friday and no one was in the office and we didn’t want to just wander off with some of the bikes with out permission. So we waited for Bike Day.

Monday, January 7th was Bike Day. One of the volunteers in another group, Paul, is a bike expert. He and his wife did a lot of cycling in the States and here in Sāmoa as well. He was our official bike guy. He and Rene arrived in town early in the morning and Paul was still making adjustments on bikes late in the afternoon, early evening. I would say he put in a full 8 hours of bike assembly. For that we appreciate him greatly. He was able to make sure that each bike was properly assembled and adjusted.

Paul and Rene came back to our house that night and stayed for a couple of days while they got work done in town. It was nice to have visitors. The first night Cale made eggplant parmesan. The second night they made us dinner and introduced us to this delicious Indian soup that can be purchased here and this incredibly dense, wonderful wholegrain bread they make at Lucky Foodtown (one of the grocery stores in town — one day I will have to blog about the grocery stores). The wholegrain bread is twice the cost of the white bread, but definitely worth it.

Anyway, Cale and I attempted to go on a bike ride yesterday (Friday). However, things didn’t work quite as planned. One, we were way over ambitious. Looking at the map, we thought we could bike out to a village where another volunteer, Sally, in about an hour or hour and a half. Then, if we were ambitious we thought we could see about biking one of the cross-island roads to a beach on the other side. We thought that might take two hours. Boy, were we wrong. Cale got a little less than halfway to Sally’s and it took just over half an hour. So the time was right, but by that time he was tired and turned back. There was no way we would have made it to Sally’s much less across the island (which would have taken longer than the two hours I bet since part of it is up hill).

Now you may be wondering, Cale? Just Cale? What about Sara? Well, Sara started out on the bike ride, but reason number two as to why things didn’t work out as planned came into play here. I was wearing shorts and a lavalava for the biking, as I need to look presentable even on a bike. However, I don’t have any shorts that are knee-length and the lavalava kept flapping away exposing my knees and some thigh! Shocking, shocking stuff. Ok, actually not all that shocking. Lots of people wear more scandalous things in Apia all the time. However, I want to make sure I am making a good impression with my neighbors in our village and that means dressing appropriately and modestly.

After I figured out that I wasn’t going to be able to control my leg flashing, I headed back home and Cale continued on the ride. Next time I will have to wear long shorts under my lavalava.

— Sara


Barb Carusillo said...

I hsve never attempted to ride a bike in a long skirt....it must be frustrating!I wonder what the women of the village wear when they ride bikes?

Cale and Sara join the Peace Corps said...

I actually havent seen any Samoan ladies on bikes since I got here. So I have no idea what they would wear.