Thursday, July 30, 2009

Driving in American Samoa

Drivers in Samoa are very polite. So polite it drives this viking absolutely crazy!

I have learned to deal with it though, the trick is to just assume that everything is the opposite of what it would be in a mainland US city.

One honk in a US city means "Fuck you - don't you dare pull out in front of me!"
One honk in Samoa means "I know that there is no one behind me, but I am going to go ahead and slow down to a full stop so that you can pull out in front of me."

Two honks in a US city means "Fuck you - I can't believe you just pulled out in front of me!"
Two honks in Samoa means "Thank - you for pulling out in front of me, have a nice day! Fa'afetia lava"

One of my first experiences with the craziness that is driving in Samoa came about whenst, after a good night of drinking on a Saturday night I awoke to find no coffee in the house. I had driven about half a mile to get more from the store when I started to come upon a church service that had just let out. The first person to get out of Church promptly hopped in their large truck and proceeded to pull out... Right in front of me. This person then sat there, right in the middle of the road and waved on the other drivers to pull in front of him, until the ENTIRE congregation had got in their cars and left. I'm sitting there thinking - I could be back at home enjoying a cup of coffee right now. Sigh.

Basically, right of way runs in reverse here, which leads me to question the sanity of whoever decided to install American Samoa's first roundabout a while back. Almost every time I am waiting my turn to pull into the roundabout, someone who is already in the roundabout starts to slow down to let me in. This is follows my much aggressive hand waving on my part, "Go. Go Go!! You have the damn right of way goddammit! - I yeild to you - that is how a roundabout works!" Screaming does no good, everyone has windows up and AC on, but it makes me feel better. A little. I guess.

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