01 November 2010

Some Tricks, but More Treats

I'm officially submitting my application for honorary membership in the Olympia Academy, posthaste.  I require nary a response to be assured of my immediate acceptance.  The inspiration comes from my recent acquisition of a copy of Walter Isaacson's biography of Albert Einstein, wherein the author recounts Einstein's core group of fellow physicist philosophers that would stay up nights and talk and charlar about... well, physics, philosophy, and no doubt some other topics as well.  Unfortunately, such a congregation I have not yet found on island, though I am continuing to search away.  I still require the services of Skype to take advantage of the willingness of friends both in the States and on other islands that share my penchant for deep discussions, but LIME assures me that they will be able to install a cable modem at my apartment by Tuesday.

As many a reader may have noticed, this past weekend was Halloween.  The common traditions associated with the predominantly U.S. holiday are not observed here in the islands – instead, a slightly similar glorification of pranks and trickery loosely associated with Guy Fawkes (mostly in the form of lighting firecrackers in the street, day or night) takes place the last week of October through to the first week of November.  But the dearth of familiarity did not stop a half-dozen of us PCVs from getting together, baking sweets like fudge muffins and rice krispie treats, and watching Halloween movies like Casper and Shaun of the Dead.  Nobody dressed up this time; it's underrated hard to pull off, since there are no costume shops (at least not geared towards Halloween costumes) and we couldn't be expected to pack anything so frivolous.  All in all, it made for a delightful evening, and I didn't face a bit of homesickness until I went into the office this morning and explained all of the familiar details of the U.S. tradition to coworkers...

I was true to myself and did my running this morning before work.  Furthermore, I was pleased with my performance: I ran for a full 20 minutes, going in my estimation around 2.5 miles in that time, and walked the last mile.  I ran from my apartment at Mattingly along the bypass freeway all the way to the Monkey Hill roundabout, which is about halfway down the SKB airport's landing strip, and back.  I plan to continue this habit 5 days a week, maybe meet my friend at Sandy Point to run Brimstone Hill on Saturdays, and rest on Sundays.  I'm staying realistic, which is to say I'm not going to get overly upset if I'm not able to maintain that regimen for long; alternatively, if it works out and I get bored, I want to eventually add push-ups and sit-ups to it as well.

It was brought to my attention the other day that I have not shared with my readers the nature of public transportation on island.  Since I myself am prohibited by the Peace Corps from either operating a motor vehicle or even riding a motorcycle while on island, I am quite subject to relying on public transportation every day I need to go anywhere except grocery shopping.  So here's how it works: there are two forms of for-hire transportation available to the public, taxis and buses.  However, one is not immediately differentiable from the other – both taxis and "buses" are actually full-size 16 passenger vans of every color under the sun and with large, garish script on all sides declaring the handle of that bus. (For example, some buses on that frequent my route are "Mr. War," "Sacrifice," "Big Blue," "Hulk," "Up 2 De Time," "Passion," "Jehovah Jireh," "Crunch Time," et al.)  The only real way to discriminate between Taxis and Buses-For-Hire are their license tags: Taxis read TA #### and are yellow, while buses read HA #### ("H" for "hire") and are green.  And it's vitally important that one discriminate between the two: a bus will take you three towns over for EC$2.50 or to the other side of the island for EC$3.75, but a Taxi will take you anywhere on the island for a mere... EC$45.00.   So no taxi riding while I'm here!

The bus names are a kind of cultural touchstone here; not only does it serve to differentiate bus drivers and their services (it works, too: some buses won't fill up at the terminal because people recall which ones don't have air conditioning, have bad tires, etc.), but it also is a form of expression and abject pride for the bus owners, many of whom willingly go by their handles in public and around town when not driving their buses.  In fact, it's given me time to think about what I would want my bus to be named, were I to have my own.  And I think that, short of settling on only one thing, I would want it to read, "All Dem Tings" in the drippy goo font that is so popular in that circle.  Have a different idea?  Post the name to your own virtual bus here.

MIG's created a blog.  So read it if you want.  I mean, I don't know what he thinks he has to say, and it's not as interesting as mine, certainly, but... whatever.

Also, 0 Comments on the video? Really?  I put a lot of effort into that, people!

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