We went to the mall. We loaded the taxi full of our purchases, realizing too late we couldn’t tell him where we lived. A phone call and lots of wild gesturing occurred before we were on our way. We made it home and gave our driver a great story about crazy American women. Mission accomplished?
Where are you taking us?
We thought we knew where we were going and how to get there. Our plan did not include a wild ride through backstreets and across an empty parking lot. Apparently this taxi driver hated roads. Or maybe just traffic. We got there, but we’re still not sure how.
He expressed his regret that my husband had died. I was confused. My husband wasn’t dead. I’d never been married. What the heck? Turns out wearing a simple band on the ring finger of your right hand means you’ve lost your spouse. Oops.
I had to travel to a different city, by myself. That wasn’t allowed. So my “sponsor” went with me. He smoked for the whole 3 hour ride. He and the driver. It was acrid, seared into my mind to this day. Thanks man, it’s the best.
We arrived at the airport, realizing too late that our ride was coming to get us tomorrow. We needed a taxi. Four of us, seven suitcases, and one Toyota Corolla. We fit, but barely. They know how to pack it in!
The Taxi Driver’s Survey
Inevitably when you get in a taxi you get asked a series of questions.Where are you from? Where do like more, America or here? Isn’t it beautiful here? Answer carefully. They may also insist you do not pay. You do pay, they’re just being polite.
When you just want to get to work, and your taxi driver asks you to marry his son.
The funeral was over and we just wanted to get home, get some rest. They rest of our group was on their way home, but the two of us were left to take a taxi. He drove us, seemingly, out of town down a goat path. We thought we were being kidnapped, but apparently he just thought we needed to take the scenic drive. We were happy to be dropped at our doorstep.
I had a whole conversation. He wanted to take his family to America, but he needed a visa from the U.S. His passport was stuck in the gears of bureaucracy. It had been months. In the end my fellow passenger asked me what we had been talking about. It was only then that I realized the whole conversation had been a mix of pantomime and the local language. Sometimes you are more fluent than you think.
My husband practices his language skills with the taxi drivers, asking them where they’re from, if they’re married, how many kids they have. Basically the same questions he gets asked by them. We don’t have any kids, but he always tells them that we want 24. It’s not a mistake in language. We do it to see if they freak out. They always do. Apparently Americans only ever have 2 kids. Not us dude. We gonna have ‘em all.