Friday, October 9, 2009

More comfotable than a CNG

I don't think I've written about the service (pronounced "serveece") taxis here yet. It's a great system. Basically, if you're going in the same general direction as people already in a cab, then you just jump in. Similarly, if you're the only person in the cab, you might stop a couple of times along your way to pick up other people. And it only costs 1000 lire (US65c). Of course, you can just pay more and it becomes a private taxi. I really like the system, because I get to see parts of town that I may not otherwise see. I might pass a shop that looks interesting and file it away to visit at a later date (note to self: check out the butcher that actually looks like a decent butcher with refrigeration and everything), or just see cool stuff that I would never find on my own.

So it's the means of getting around here. I was just telling someone the other day how much I miss rickshaws, but a cab (usually a really old Mercedes) is definitely an improvement to the Bengali CNGs! Cabbies don't tend to know street names, so you usually just tell them a landmark. There's a school a block down from my house, which has given name to my street, so I just tell them that and they know where to go.

Today I was crossing the street to get a cab home and I saw one up ahead who'd just dropped someone off. I didn't think he'd wait around for me to catch up, but he did. I told him that I wanted to go to Al Mina, he nodded and smiled and I got in the car. He then turned around and said the name of my street with a big smile on his face. He then said in Arabic what was obviously, "I remember you, I've taken you there before. Do you remember me?" And then there was much smiling and laughing. I've written before how nice it is to be remembered, and especially by a decent cabbie who drives well...they're few and far between!!

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