Aparna in Mozambique

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Miss India

My latest fascination is my new bike. I remembered really what it is to buy something that is useful and that you really really love. In that little kid kinda way (zoom back to second grade show and tell.....I LOVE peanut butter, but I wouldn't mawwy it.) Yes, its that. Men buy electronics. Women buy clothes or whatever. Aparna in Mozambique buys a bike. Not just any bike. She is called Miss India. And almost every other expat in Beira has her. Those that don't venture to South Africa for the real bikes. Although I do have to say, that many people are buying the Miss India nowadays. She comes in Purple and Pink mostly, but last year's model seems to have come in blue and green.

Now, I have my transport. I go to the store, I take her to school, I go to meetings on her, and most importantly, I put things in her basket. She is my ticket to freedom. My favorite part about having her, is that people often ask me for rides or for a "bulea". Which makes me laugh. I can barely maneuver her myself, let alone another person sitting on the tray in the back. I could maybe manage a small child in the basket, but I wouldn't risk it! You can see what I mean from the picture below. ANd you can see that I am wearing some very stylish gear in the form of shorts (that I would never wear in the US) and a backpack (which I bough in the used market and which is, in fact, a bag for baby supplies, absolutely NO IDEAS!).

So, one of the other fun things is obeying car rules on a bike. I'm not sure if this is true in other countries, but here, the same rules. See, I don't really ride bikes in other countries. So, sometimes I think I can go down one ways. NO! People yell out "Contra mao" or the wrong way on a one way and proceed to give me commentary. Last weekend my roommate and I went for a spin and had to do an errand around a corner. Thinking that it was less than one block away, we thought we'd be daredevils and break the "contra mao" law. Within minutes, 4 policeman appeared. I managed to plead guilty. Then look extremely pathetic. MY roommate was mad, but I claimed stupid. And acted as a law abiding citizen. She was mad at the cops for exerting authority and threatening us. I almost cried. In the end, the big boss from another block came and told the 4 others to take our bikes away and make us pay 10 dollars each! Roomie was outraged! Now the shopkeepers got involved. They pleaded for us, pointing out how sorry we were. Then backup came from the alley, from another shopkeeper who claimed we were from his church and law abiders. And that we were really sorry, but that as foreigners we didn't know the laws. We wouldn't do it again. We had 3 out of 4 people convinced. The last one was a loose cannon. I kept looking pathetic and saying how sorry I was. He conceded to take my name and let us go. I walked my bike half the way down the next street and then pedaled my way out of there.

I almost lost my precious miss india. So silly. I really will follow the laws from now on, mostly because of this and the embarassment of being yelled at by people on the street for going the wrong way!!!


Anonymous aganders said...

I'm picturing you whizzing around on Miss India and it makes me smile.

You had me laughing out loud with your stories.

Love you,

4:57 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

go, aparna, go!

i just wanted to say hi--hi!--and take a break from the whirlwind of school to check in on you. thinking lots about you, as i pine for my time in malawi. i'll send a more full email soon, but just wanted to say hi and tell you how much i love reading your blog.

follow those road signs!

8:36 PM  
Blogger tebogo said...


ive never seen you on a bike. You look like a happy hippy, especially in those circa 1978 shorts of yours

10:07 AM  

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