Aiga Busses

Aiga Busses

At the golf course road Apelu caught an aiga bus headed toward town. Aiga busses were the sole means of public transportation in Samoa aside from taxi cabs. They were all privately owned and operated, and all hand-made--wooden bodies on truck chasses. They were pretty much the same in construction, if individual in their character and imaginative paint jobs. They had names like Titanic, Light on the Ocean, Spiderman, South of Pago Pago. One thing they all had in common was a sound system. At the driver's left hand was always a pile of cassette music tapes and a tape deck haphazardly wired to invariably giant speakers. The sound systems all had only one volume setting--loud. Teenagers picked their busses by their soundtracks. The benches were unpadded wood. The windows were sheets of Plexiglas that slid up or down in wooden tracks, sometimes. The busses were always packed. After one bus wreck several years before, a palangi coroner had listed the fatalities' cause of death as "death by splinters."

While the exteriors of the busses were decorated with their distinctive names and spray-painted scenes related to them--or maybe a portrait of the owner's baby daughter--the interior decor was pretty much the driver's domain--flags, posters, decals, family photos, Xmas lights, bobbing-head animals, Last Supper paintings on black velvet, political bumper stickers, beer ads with rugby players, all variety of holiday trim. Apelu's favorite was still the bus with the triptych of full-color posters above the front window--an effeminate Jesus showing his Sacred Heart flanked by Sylvester Stallone as a battered Rocky and war-blackened Rambo

(Fire Knife Dancing, P. 130f)

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Sunday, September 28, 2014 - 8:45am

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