12 January, 2006

My own experience by Reginald Lutu

Edinburgh Drive is the twisting road leading into Suva city from the Plateau that towers mysteriously behind the jungles of Walu Bay. It is a busy tar sealed thoroughfare meandering about 2 miles with a gradual elevation change. It is on the last hill beneath the Calvary Temple complex, where the many open air Buses powered with Diesel Engines tend to compete for Bragging Rights among the boisterous kids, on their way home from School. This showdown of driving skills was even anticipated by the proud, barrel chested Drivers. Some with dark skin punctuated with flaky white discoloration of the skin; caused by the over-indulgence of Fiji's traditional drink called Yaqona. Drivers have long recognized this last hill; which has a steeper incline than the preceding ones. It is common to see two large vehicles with their engines w hining to dangerous revolutions; racing neck to neck, up that last hill. My observations of a Driver who routinely won this dash to Samabula, has identified attributes that led to his success.Since most Buses in Fiji have a Manual gearbox, this restricts the overly use of the accelerator. This scenario forces the driver to make, more creative use of the gearbox. The successful driver timed his gear changing, to an art. He allowed the engine of his bus to work harder and longer. Synchronizing this rhythm of gear changing, with the perpetual tracking of the opposing Bus position; in respect with his own. Our Bus Driver usually allowed the other bus to gain a little ground ahead of us; on the last hill beneath Calvary Temple, Samabula. All the kids in the Bus are on their feet at this point; joining the growing Chorus of Cheers. "Go Dr iver Go, The Bus is Kaso!". My Bus Driver skillfully changes gears slightly earlier; while the other Bus engine was whinging to the point of exhaustion; on that last stretch of two hundred yards. Slowly my Bus catches the other and cruises by the opposing Bus, via this early surge of power created by the quick gear shift; as if it was stationary . Beating at the other bus, at "the tape" was always such, a sweeter victory. This is usually when the badder kids who usually occupy the backseat; start sticking their heads out of their windows and hurling insults at the kids in the other bus. Note from Gilbert : Yes, although it does sound dangerous now, this story from Reginald brings back memories of our school days with its wild and exhilarating experiences.

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