Sunday, July 12, 2009

50,000 Cars in Samoa? I Think Not.

It is strange the random places Samoa pops up now that we are more inclined to notice it's mention.

Cale was watching The Land of the Dead, a particularly bad zombie flick, when this scene occurred:

Pillsbury: Yellow to red!
Motown: What the fuck does a Samoan know about hot-wiring a fucking car?
Pillsbury: 50,000 cars stolen in Samoa every year.
Motown: Well, a million in Detroit.
Pillsbury: Detroit has 50 million cars. Samoa, 50,000. Every one stolen.
*Taken from

What an insanely random skill to attribute to a Samoan and then to back it up with a widely inaccurate fact about the country. I knew before I even googled it there was no way there were 50,000 cars in Samoa and I was right.

According to the Samoa Bureau of Statistics there were just over 14,000 vehicles registered in Samoa in 2005 (and that includes tractors). Unless something dramatic happened, more then doubling the number of cars in the country in four years, there is no way there is anything close to 50,000 cars in Samoa right now. And, given that The Land of the Dead came out in 2005, the year of my most recent statistics, 14,000 is a much closer number.

Let's forget about my nitpicking inaccuracies in a zombie flick and talk about car theft in Samoa for a moment. I cannot imagine how you could steal a car in this country. Unless after stealing it you hid it somewhere and never drove it.

Samoa is just too small for someone to steal something as identifiable as a car and not be caught. Everyone knows everyone. If your car went missing and suddenly another person was driving it, everyone would know. Also, I think it might be possible to count the number of gas stations on the two islands on two hands. Since all the gas stations are full-service, I imagine that the gas jockeys of Samoa know each and every car and it's owner.

When Cale and I rented a van on the Tuesday before my parents' arrival the next day, we drove it to the beach. When we returned it to the rental company in Apia on Wednesday, they asked us if we had a good time at the beach on Tuesday. Friends of the family had seen the van drive over the mountain and passed the information on to the car owners.

In this sort of close-knit environment how could anyone steal a car? I would like to propose that car-theft is impossible in Samoa. I invite our readers to provide any knowledge of previous instances to prove my theory wrong.

— Sara

* I would also like to point out that it appears (based the actor's name) that the man playing the Samoan in The Land of the Dead was Hispanic.


Chris said...

You should count cars in American Samoa as well..I think when most say Samoa anywhere off island, I dont think they differ between A.Samoa or Samoa.

Justin N. said...

The cars are each taken multiple times.

Cale and Sara join the Peace Corps said...

I cannot locate any numbers on cars in American Samoa. However, I can say that Samoa has four times the population of American Samoa (Samoa: 200,000, American Samoa: 50,000), which leads me to believe that it is unlikely there are almost three times as many cars in American Samoa (to add to the 14,000 in Samoa brining us up to the 50,000 the movie was talking about).

Also American Samoa is about 77 sq miles and Samoa is about 1,000 sq miles. So I doubt they have room for 36,000 cars driving around on American Samoa.

Barb Carusillo said...

You know what your dad would say in response to your whole soliloquy about Samoan's stealing cars based on the Zombie flick don't you? "It's a MOVIE!".
But it sure is fun to find out all these facts about Samoa, American Samoa and cars. Pretty soon all 50,000 will be traveling on the wrong side of the road!