Friday, 13 March 2009
My first ever adventure taxi ride came during my first trip to Asia. After we'd all gotten ready and dolled up to go out on a night on the town, we hopped into a taxi. Little did we know, there would be a lot of screaming coming us girls in the back. We can get that way sometimes.
Once the taxi driver took his foot off the break, it was every man (woman) for himself. Let the games begin!
The taxi was parked at the curb in front of our hotel. I was bummed because a car went and parked right next to him blocking him from getting out. I was wrong to think that this could get in his way. He proceeded to steer his wheel to the right toward the sidewalk and drove right on top of it and along the sidewalk passing the car next to him. "What is he doing?!" my friend yelled to our guide. "Oh it's okay," says Michael. "They do it all the time here. It's normal."
So after our taxi driver made it back onto the street, the fun really began! I felt like I was playing a racing car video game only I had no control over the wheel.
Cars were coming at us from the right, from the left, from the back, and each time I closed my eyes and we, girls, screamed for our lives as if blood curdling yelps distracting our taxi driver would do any good. He didn't seem to mind or even hear us, though. Foreign girls sitting in his cab screaming and laughing were probably a normal everyday thing for him.
But each time our driver swerved like a pro. The guy was sheer genius when it came to driving and avoiding oncoming cars that seemed to want to eject us from our safe haven. After a while all the swerving and oncoming traffic didn't phase me anymore. I learned to ignore the cars and had trusted our driver and his unwavering confidence in his profession.
And then we saw the place we were supposed to stop at. "We're here!" we quickly pointed out to him, but he'd already passed it. And then he did something we didn't anticipate. He halted right in the middle of all the traffic which already surprised us, but his next maneuver really scared us. He proceeded to REVERSE until he was able to turn into the designated plaza. The guy reversed right in the middle of oncoming traffic! In the US this guy would hear a hundred eighty honks (the car horn is something we Americans love to use) directed at him, but there were none. The other drivers just calmly swerved around him and let him do his thing.
We made it to our spot in what seemed like hours, but it was actually probably about twenty minutes. From that time on, nothing a taxi driver there could do that would surprise me anymore and I just learned to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Do you ever ride in taxis when traveling? How are driving rules in your country compared to others?