Taxis – I love them, just don’t put me in one by myself!!!

There are a gazillion taxis in this town.  You can’t stand more than a minute before one whizzes by you. We call Samson the taxi whisperer.  He can hail a taxi, name a place and a price, close the deal and be in the taxi in ½ minute, maybe less. We have to hold him back so we can get the door locked before he is done.

They are horn honkers!  It can mean anything.  I am coming through, watch out for me. Do you want a ride? Get a move on! Don’t squeeze me out!

More expensive ones and more importantly, the ones that have air conditioning, have a black checkered strip on them. They are in the inner ring at the Madiji mall.

They know the exact dimensions of their car – most all are Toyota Corollas painted a soft cream color, but they can squeeze into a space with one inch to spare on each side going 80 Km/hr on the freeway.  

A lot of them are covered in plastic or fabric (different and cheaper than the upholstery on the seats) on the inside. I even was in one that had the stick shift covered in plastic.

There is always a seatbelt for the front seat.   There is never, ever a seatbelt for the back seat.  And If you are in the middle of the back seat, it will be the suicide seat if there is a wreck.

I have never seen a wreck.  I pray that I don’t, it will destroy my confidence if I do.

Taxi drivers rarely pay attention to lane markings if there are any.  It is drift with the flow driving. Sometimes they don’t pay attention to one-way markings – it happened at the drop off at the Family Mall.  I was glad that it wasn’t busier than it was!

I love it when the drivers try and talk with us.  We get some that want to practice their English on us.  Two of them now have refused payment when we talk and laugh with them.

Today we had an old guy with a deep guttural voice.  Samson couldn’t make out what he was saying, but we got the gist of it.  “Iran” he shouts then he uses his arm as if it were holding a club and smashing something.  Ok!!!!  When we got out, I turned to get a picture of a taxi from the outside, he rolled down his front passenger window, waved at me, then shouted “America, America” and blew a kiss!  Makes you feel like we are doing something right. And it makes me feel rather safe in this country right now, no matter the level of alert for us here.