December 13, 2004

The Taxi Incident

It's been exactly 9 days since the Taxi Incident happened and I still haven't written about it. Folks, I'm loosing my blogging edge.

I was supposed to attend an office party on the 4th of December at my Big Boss' house. Keen to make a good impression (without looking too stuffy), I put on my best pair of jeans (my only pair too but at least it was clean), a neat little tee-shirt, nice pointy shoes and make-up.

As per usual, I'm apprehensive about taking the taxi, having to negociate without getting conned out of a measly 2 extra dollars. I finally gather my courage, get a fair price and drive to my friend's house to pick her up. She lives in a nice residential neighborhood, which basically means that you see a lot more goats than in the city center, the roads aren't paved and the people are not nagging you to buy their stuff.

The second taxi is a little harder to negotiate since we have to pass by the foire on the way up. This is a huge market that gathers artisans from various countries in Africa (and the ubiquitous bad quality electronics from China) once in a year. We loose about 5 taxis who drive off in a huff, offended by our asking price.

Finally we get a taxi at a not so fair price but what the heck, by now we are late. Of course, the traffic is jammed packed and people are honking, chickens on the roofs of buses are getting impatient and you can cut through the exaust fumes with a knife. Our little taxi guy gets annoyed and decides that he needs to find another astute way of getting us there. Which requires us to drive over the divider to incoming traffic...the divider basically being an mound of sand...

I'm sure you can imagine what happens next. We get hopelessly stuck. The more he revs up his engine, the more we sink in the sand. He gets up to move the sand with his hands and his flip-flops. After watching him struggle for 5 or 10 mins, I take my shoes off, roll my jeans up and help him dig, much to the amusement of those stuck in their cars, watching a prim and proper white girl dig wheels out. Then I try to push the car. Which should be hilarious to anyone who knows how weak my arms are.

Suddenly, a group of 5 strong teenagers appear on the road, chatting and laughing. When they see us stuck, they laugh and point to me, saying I should push the car. I explain, calmly, that I'm a weakling, but hey maybe it would be a great idea if they could all help me push the car. They enthusiastically help me push and the car whizzed off to the other side of the road (I am suddenly glad that I have my shoes in my hand and not in the taxi). Teenaged girls are great. A teenaged boy pretends to help us push at the last minute and asks for money (Which of course I refused). Teenaged boys are icky. I thank them profusely and run to catch the cab.

Back at my boss' house, dusty and hot, I convey my story to a colleague. She looks at me with pity (pity at my stupidity) and says "I would have left the taxi and gotten another one". D'oh! Why didn't I think of that?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I hate it when that happens.