Friday, December 22, 2006

The Longest Two-Lane Traffic Jam in History (at least I thought so at the time)

Today I experienced a major frustration. Governor Togiola gave government workers a half day today. So, at 12:00 pm, I hopped in the car and left for home. I didn't go far before I was in the longest traffic jam I had ever experienced. We drove through Los Angeles at rush hour on the way down here. Believe me, this was worse.

The road from Pago Pago to Tafuna, where we live, is approximately 12 miles. Only two lanes-one going either way. Going 20 miles an hour (the speed limit here on Hwy 1), it takes about 30 minutes to get into town. So why did it take me 1 hour and 15 minutes to go 12 miles?

My theory is that all the non-government workers saw that the government workers were getting off at noon, and they decided to do the same. After all, they normally close shop at 2:30 or 3:00 pm, so what would it hurt to just leave three hours earlier?

Fortunately, it wasn't the stop-and-go that normally wears down a vehicle in 95 degree temperatures. It was just mostly stop. Not much go.

Also, almost the whole drive is alongside the ocean. So that's not so bad.

Samoans really take their Christmas seriously (see Samoan Government Christmas Programs).