Cale says that whenever I talk about the time in my life after I got laid off, an involuntary smile of warm nostalgia spreads across my face. Oh, those halcyon days. Sleeping in, collecting severance, not having to wait for equipment at the gym in the middle of the day, watching DVD box set after DVD box set. I interviewed too, met with my job councilor, honed my resume. With all this, I still had more time to kill in those days than any other time in my life.
I’m accustomed to killing time in The States. I’d arrive for an interview an hour early, but I could always count on a Starbucks lounge within 2 blocks. Grab a cappuccino, sit around and read Newsweek for an hour. Done and done. You can sit inconspicuously in a coffee shop for hours and no one will notice you. Hell, even the college-aged misanthrope who refills your cup barely sees you through his emo bangs.
Here in Samoa, it’s not so easy to keep a low profile while killing time in town. I treated myself to laundry this afternoon, and I had some internetting to do; two errands that seemed to complement each other well. But the laundry place was backed up and the internet finished quickly, and I had an hour to kill.
There aren’t really coffee shops here. Or any other sort of shop where you can order something small and sit at a table and consume unnoticed. There a couple restaurants with patios that tourists frequent, but a modest killing-time kind of drink can be quite pricey. So I stay away. The one other option is McDonald’s, but their drinks are also expensive, and who wants to embody that stereotype anyway?
I tried to concentrate on other errands. Dan asked me to see if I could find some ping-pong balls in Apia, and told me that he’d pay me back for them next weekend. The availability of anything outside the normal routine here is unpredictable, and an impossible mission seemed like a good way to waste time. But lo and behold, 15 minutes into my search, I see a set of paddles and 3 balls in a store. And when I inquire with the shopkeeper, it turns out they also sell boxes of balls. The balls are $1.50 WST each. I bought six.
I walked to the movies to see what’s playing this week. Friday the 13th, 12 Rounds, Dragonball Evolution. This errand finished quickly AND it made my soul hurt.
Finally I decided to buy a bottle of water to reward myself for the ping-pong balls find and to keep from passing out in today’s heat. I stopped in at Lucky Foodtown and picked up a bottle of Le Vai, one of Samoa’s own brands of bottled water (Samoa has a surprising amount of different bottled water companies.).
It’s impolite to eat or drink while standing up in Samoa, so I found a bench and sat and drank (Pictured above). It was nice and cool, but not inconspicuous by any means. Palagis are always a bit peculiar in Samoa, and sitting on a bench facing a busy sidewalk attracts questions and comments and aggressive taxi drivers looking for a fare. Soon enough it was time to pick up laundry and head home.
But I still have no idea how to kill time in the middle of Apia.
I hope taxi drivers are leaving you alone. Pictures below.
Blue skies today. This was how it looked walking to school this morning.
Coming home from lunch yesterday, my pule's wife stopped me as I walked past their house and brought me a plastic bag filled with canned corned beef and tin fish. Mmmmm.... Still not sure what the occasion was.
5 weeks ago