Friday, January 30, 2009

A short bike ride

When I woke up this morning, I couldn't hear my computer fans. That is not a good thing.
It could only mean two things, that my machine died quietly and went to the land of the BSOD or worse, there's a power blackout (there was a thunder storm the night before).

I sat up and frantically checked my computer for any blinking lights.
I found the crescent moon lit so I knew my machine couldn't be dead. It was only sleeping, the lazy bum.

So I got up a bit higher off my bed to tinker with the light switch. I flicked it on and there was no light. I flicked it on and off a few more times after that. It's funny how when you're trying to test if power's on, you flick the switch more than once. As if turning it on another time might somehow make the power come back. Well, I did that a few times anyway, and I didn't get lucky (well, one of these days I might :D).

That confirmed my worst fear. There was no power. It's a catastrophe! No electricity means I can't use my PC. Internet modem and network router are dead so I can't go online. Can't charge my mobile phone. Can't even turn the telly on for breakfast news. I hate being disconnected.

I sat in the car to listen to the news on the radio. The announcer said Fiji Electricity Authority fucked up and all their generators failed at the same time. That there's an island-wide blackout and some areas are even suffering water cuts because there are no pumps to drive the water. At the time of writing this post, they've yet to discover who or what fucked up the generators. It ruined my morning I tell you. I realized I can't go to work either because I can't work without power. It was going to be a boring day so I thought why not go for a short bicycle ride up and down the street.

So I took my bike out. I own a mountain bike. It's a few years old. You cycling fans out there, don't ask me what brand/model my mountain bike is. I don't know and don't care much. It's rugged. Built to withstand the pot holes in my area and looks ugly enough to deter most thieves. That's all that matters right?

So I go out from my street, down Vuya road. I usually ride this short distance up and down the Vuya road just to feel the wind in my face. When I got to the sea wall end of Vuya road, I thought to myself, "Why not go a bit further? It's not like I have anything better to do right now." so I did.

I rode along the sea wall, heading towards town. I rode on the foot path because there wasn't anyone walking there at this time of the day (the promenade is usually filled with people in the evenings) and the road alongside is narrow and busy with traffic this time of the day.

I rode down the sea wall at a leisurely pace and even chatted with an elderly Chinese man I met along the way. The thing I like about bicycles is that you expend so little energy. You use less energy than walking and cover a greater distance. When I got to the Suva bowling club, opposite Thurston gardens, I was enjoying the ride too much to turn around so I kept going.

I turned down the street between Albert park and Government buildings. Turned left and rode past Fiji TV, and turned on the corner of Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Ltd building towards Dolphins food courts (I usually get cheap Chinese food here). Next, I turned up Goodenough street and was just past the American embassy, when I met an old mate I went to NZPTC with. So of course I had to get off my bike and chat for a while.

Now, I'm very close to my office so I ride up a few more meters to check out what's happening there.
Surprise surprise, I find two of my colleagues hanging around near the car park. These fellows turn up at work, when they know there's no power and they'll just be useless there. I'm thinking to myself, either these guys are very dedicated or they're hiding here away from their wives.
I asked them if the office had power? Nope. Set. I'm off to continue my ride.

I went up Gordon street and down Murray street behind the central police station. Pass the big Catholic church, and up Pratt street. That last part was a nice little hill, phew! I rode past the ministry of education through Selbourne street. Down towards the roundabout and by Victoria Courts. Sometimes I play squash there. Going up Knolly street. The road here is a bit narrow and it's an uphill incline so it was hard to avoid passing cars.

From there, I went down Bau street. Going by Marist Brothers high school, I saw lots of school boys going home. They were probably sent home because of the power/water situation. Next, I flew down the hill in front of Yat Sen school, and up the hill again. This is another big hill but with gears, I went up it just fine.

When I got to Ratu Sukuna road, I turned into it. Along this road are many residences of diplomats and ambassadors. It's a nice ride and easy because the road inclines in your favor. I quickly reached the other end of Vuya road helped along by the speed picked up on the gradual downhill and easily pushed pass the midget hill at this end of Vuya road. At the bottom of the hill is Veiuto road, and all too soon, I'm home!

This is a map of my bike path marked in blue.

The map is produced by OpenStreetMap. My friend StrangePants is responsible for tracing most of the streets you can see for Fiji.

So, that was my morning bike ride. I got home, I showered and guess what happened while I was showering? .. No, I did not drop the soap. The lights came back on! That's what happened! It was around 9am so I just got out of the shower, called a taxi and went to work.

Oh yeah, I'm playing badminton tomorrow. Finally!


  1. I think this post makes you the first person to actually do anything useful with the Suva map on kudos!

  2. Thanks Jachin and thank you for putting Suva on the map :)

  3. Get a Blackberry - its a great substitute when there is no power ;)

  4. A short bike ride but such a long post. Must be cos' your post width is too thin making it longer.

  5. @Rizwan I'm not interested in Blackberry. I'd rather get a real hackable device like the Neo Freerunner.

    @Mayvelous Yeah, I need to improve my editing skills.