There are two bus lines on Rarotonga, the main island in the Cook Islands. One bus goes clockwise on the main road around the island, and the other goes counter-clockwise. That’s it. It’s a convenient way into town and back. And the buses are just about a step or two above a typical school bus here in the States.
There’s one thing a lot of older vehicles have in common: technical reliability. Or lack thereof. Especially the brakes.
I was coming up on my stop right outside where I was staying, the Aro’a Beachside Inn, when I signaled for the bus to stop. There is no center exit on these buses, so you exit at the front left door. (Driving is on the left side of the road there, as the Islands are a protectorate of New Zealand, thus following New Zealand rules.) The driver opened the door, and I stepped down. One slight problem: The bus hadn’t come to a complete stop. It was more of a slow roll to a stop.
That is, it was a slow roll until I started down the second step.
The rest was a bit of a blur, as I felt my feet give out from under me as I fell straight back, landing on the edge of one of the steps with the center of my back.