Tales from the Taxi
So another evening and another taxi ride home. Traffic was horrible this evening. And my taxi driver was certifiably crazy. While I appreciated his interest in practicing English (the teacher in me is ever-present), I wasn’t really in the mood to speak in broken sentences, smile politely and uncomfortably and make nice. It was a long day. Yup – not really in the mood to talk to a crazy cab driver after my really “fun” 12+ hour day.
I am closer and closer to renting a motorbike because for ONCE I would just like to step into a taxi and…
- not have it smell like super stinky sweaty something or rather (I am constantly reminded of the Seinfeld episode with the valet driver/car smell). I also don’t love it when whatever the smell is in the car gets on my clothes and I can faintly smell that stench all day (I have a strong sense of smell).
- have the driver actually, truly, really know where we are going
- upon giving directions to a clueless driver, have them actually listen instead of argue with or ignore me
- when pointing which direction to go, the driver doesn’t follow the line down my arm and finger to see the direction I’m pointing in
- on excursions different from the home/work route, the driver doesn’t insist on taking the long way around, making that extra buck
- the driver actually knows how to operate the vehicle – for example, understands that you cannot shift into 5th gear at 20MPH. AND that you cannot take off from a red light in 3rd gear OR that the rumbling of the car means you are in too high a gear for 7MPH
- the driver doesn’t answer his cell phone while driving, slowing down and nearly causing numerous accidents – driving in Hanoi requires your full attention.
- the driver doesn’t madly beep his horn, flick his lights and tail the cars in front of him. When this happens, all I can think is that he would be a casualty of road rage in Los Angeles. I have not yet gone numb to the horn honking. Hope not to.
- not wanting to use the passenger floor board as my imaginary brake pedal, and sometimes gas pedal too!
- not quickly shut my eyes in fear that we are going to cream the lady and her kids on the motorbike
- the driver doesn’t hit a motorbike and then get out, scream and yell at the woman, escaping blame for the incident simply because he’s yelling and she’s not because she probably slightly in shock and a bit banged up.
- the driver “actually” has money in his wallet to make change. I’m not that friggin’ generous to leave you double the fare.
- step out of the taxi without getting dust, dirt or some sort of muck on my pants
And while we are on the topic of transportation, I just have to say here that the motorbike drivers here totally freak me out. I feel like I’m being stalked when walking around. It’s so creepy to be strolling down your street and hear from the shadows of darkness, “Moto?” And this is all said in low voices with a boogey man in the voice. Seriously – freaks me out. I especially hate it when I am walking roadside and a motorbike driver approaches from behind and nearly whispers in my ear as he’s slowed his bike next to me, “Moto?” We’re lucky I haven’t punched someone yet and instead have acquired the ability to give them the look of death which requires no words and they drive on. Seriously. Me no likey!!!
My buddy Pete has put me in touch with his friend who rents motorbikes. So be prepared, my friends. I may just take to the streets over the weekend. The freedom of driving around whenever and wherever I want has become irresistible!