Our First Date


Last week my new scooter and I went out for our first date.

{ha. you thought I was going to share about mine and Gerber’s first date. nope that’s another story. sorry to disappoint.}

•  •   •

Yep, I am the proud new owner of a scooter or more commonly referred to here as a pasola. If you know me this is significant because 1) I have difficulty keeping my balance while riding a bicycle, and 2) because for the past year I have been living without a car here in Antigua.

I have mostly been content with the simplicity and savings of car-free living. There are things you come to know about a place and people when you walk and take public transportation. You see things differently. You organize your day differently. And you get a small picture of what it might feel like when you’re not part of the 10% of of the world that owns a car.

{I say might because I know that I still have a car in the states and because of where I was born and how I grew up I know that I am part of that 10%}

But the truth is, there are many times when walking to and from is nice and leisurely, but when you want to go the bank, the post office and el mercado in less than 2 hours walking just won’t do it.


Therefore, the purchase of the pasola.

{And as far as the balancing part. That just takes practice, right?}

A certain Mr. Someone was convinced that I could just “hop on” and start driving. wrong. I had to explain to this Mr. Someone, that I have, never (repeat: never ever) driven any kind of motorized cycling device.

•  •   •

My first question: “ok, so how do I make it go?”

2nd question: “umm, and which one is the brake?”

{see, I really knew next to nothing}

He patiently watched me ride (ahem, wobble) around the callejon in front of my house, calling out tips:

Ok, don’t break. Just take your hand off the gas slowly. Umm, why are you putting both feet down? Just use one. You look funny.

•  •   •

After a few more afternoons practicing around my block, I am happy to say that I have now ventured out onto the streets of Antigua. Don’t get me wrong I love my scooter, but I am not yet a fan of driving on the cobblestones. You may think they’re picturesque and give the city it’s charm, but let me tell you they’re like h*ll to drive on. Really. Bumpy doesn’t even describe it.

•  •   •

Good news: Balance is improving.

Bad news: When you go the grocery store you really can only take what fits in inside the seat or you’ll end up tying a bag of chips to the back like this.


Maybe in a few years this will be me:

maybe not.

I’m currently taking name suggestions and scooter driving tips (hopefully a few from this lovely scooter owner)

Happy Saturday!

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13 thoughts on “Our First Date

  1. This is a what-not-to-do commiserating tip, My first time on a little motorcycle, I gripped so hard that I just kept upping the gas. Thus I drove straight through a gate and then ran into a fence. Bike climbed up the fence until it was at a 90 degree angle. Needless to say, I fell off. You seem to be doing much, much better!

  2. Fascinating on so many fronts. Just know I will not be riding on the back of this in November. Just sayin’ 🙂

  3. Way to go! Will you take me for a spin around town sometime? 🙂

    I drove M’s pasola a few times on side streets. So I thought I was ready to drive it into the garage…yeah…I wasn’t. Luckily only tiny scratches on the moto and me but a huge dent in my ego! haha

  4. “Lovely scooter owner” here! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!! Yippee!! I can’t wait to give it a spin when I come down in November.

    1. ALWAYS always drive defensively. In other words, assume no one is looking for you. Though scooters are far more prevalent in Guate than in the US, still, most drivers don’t see us.
    2. remember that driving a scooter will always put you in a good mood. I think it must be similar to owning a convertible. I just feel so happy and free on a scooter!
    3. You wrote “Umm, which one is the break?” My dear, it is spelled BRAKE. I get nervous that you will BREAK something on your body if you are not careful!
    4. Driving a scooter in the rain requires MUCH MORE CARE. The little tires skid more easily on wet pavement… I cannot even imagine what it would be like on cobbles. So in the rain (I don’t really drive in the rain, I’ll be honest), ¡Cuidate!
    5. You could see if some moto shop has a front basket you can buy. i LOVE MY FRONT BASKET and use it for my groceries.

    Name suggestions:
    Dumbo (rhymes with Yumbo)
    Hola Pasola
    Lola (since it’s a pasola!)

  5. Ha. Love it. Well, I may have failed to mention my first near run in with the wall as in fear I also clenched down on the gas, screaming to stop, all the while not realizing I was in fact making it go faster.

  6. Of course! Luckily I don’t have to park it in a garage– just get it through my two front doors : )

  7. Oh, Kel- see, I knew you would come through for me here! First of all, thank you for the editing and scooter riding advice. I now know how to brake and will not break anything. Don’t worry. And I’ll look into the front basket thing- great idea! I do not drive in the rain because of I don’t want to get wet and Gerber sent me this safety link:

    …and it says when the roads our wet good scooter drivers take a coffee break. And that seems just fine with me : )

  8. Oh, Mom…don’t worry I would not expect such a thing. I figured you’d prefer to ride on the back of Gerber’s motorcycle anyways : )

  9. I am so not the person to give scooter advice. The only time I drove one (in Mallorca, Spain) I crashed. I think it’s fantastic that you got one though and hope you have a fantastic time cruising around Antigua!

    Did you hear the sad news from SMHS?

  10. Helen, yea I did…That’s so sad. Do they know how he died? I tried to read in the independent and I couldn’t find much : (

  11. Michelle, I just got back to your blog today . . .
    I hope you have a helmet for the scooter? (didn’t see it in the photo) Someday I can tell you about using a scooter in Uganda, and the encounter I had with a large truck that pulled out in front of me. I wouldn’t have gone to med school, except for the helmet . . .
    much love, Ruth

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