You, sir, while ultimately conveying me successfully from the airport to my home, did not uphold the standards held up by taxi-drivers around the world. Taxis may be a method of conveyance, it’s true, but they’re also an experience, and the experience of taking your cab (by the longest route) to my home was as flat and squooshy as the shocks on your large American sedan. I have recently had the good fortune to travel in cabs in Santiago, Chile, and São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and I can say with substantial confidence that you would not have lasted a minute in either of those colorful locations.
Over the past two and a half weeks, I have come to develop specific expectations of my taxi experiences:
* Cabs must be driven at breakneck speeds
* Lanes are optional, and drivers can get ahead by
* Red lights are similarly optional, after dark
* Right and left turns can be made from any “lane”
* Runs made after dark will be either alcohol- or speed-fueled
* Optional car features include:
** Fuel gauge
** Shock absorbers
Your cab came luxuriously equipped with all optional features, and you adhered to every single rule of the road, even though there was nobody else on it. Now how does this reflect on the code above? Poorly, I tell you, poorly.
We also had difficulty communicating. Now, I’m in fact quite used to this; I speak about 25 total words of Portuguese, so there was little, if any, communication between me and cab drivers in Rio (One did tell me it would quit raining the next day; he lied). However, I did manage to make some conversation with cabbies throughout my trip, thus earning the dubious privelege of sitting in the front of cabs so that I could translate between the driver and my friends, the other passengers. At least these drivers told me how much I owed, rather than just vaguely gesturing at the meter. There was even some conversation, which did a good job of lessening the terror I felt as we ran red lights at 60 km/h and when we made right turns at the same time that the bus in the lane to our right turned left.
Our unsatisfactory conversation today consisted entirely of me micromanaging our trip from the airport to my home. You see, when I mentioned the major intersection near which I live (Venice & Overland), I didn’t expect you’d suggest that we take the freeway to an exit many miles away (Wilshire exit of the 405). In other cities, I’m shocked to say, cabbies know where various small, obscure addresses are, even if you don’t have a nearby intersection. You ought, you know, to shape up and fly right.