Taxis are done

I took my last taxi ride to work yesterday.

I have been driven by drivers of many different nationalities, many with really interesting, and sometimes alarming, stories of how they got to the United States.  These drivers came to the United States for a better life and so that any children they had would not have the same struggles they did.  Many have dreams of making it rich here and then being able to go back to a home country.  All were grateful for the opportunities America has given them.  All had an opinion on the recent election.

My oldest driver was 72, quite a character and he drove like a maniac!  One of the younger ones drove like an old man.

I had no women drivers and only a couple of grumpy drivers – but hey, I can be pretty grumpy some 7am mornings too (just ask the manservant).

Only a couple of them actually got out of their cabs to open the door for me;  quite a few asked "do you need any help" after  I was sitting which always prompted a polite "not now, thanks!"  from me.

The ladies on the phone were polite and friendly and more than a couple got to know my name just from my number and voice.  After a couple of weeks I did not have to say "no van – I'm in a cast and on crutches".

So …. on this day of Thanks – I must say a very big thank you to Red Top Cabs and hope that many of my drivers got to enjoy the day off with family.

We are about to go out to friends for Thanksgiving Dinner – every year I tell myself that I will not overeat – but then I do anyway.  When all that yummy food is laid out I have no will power at all.    

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How old is too old …


to drive a taxi? 

My driver this morning looked quite elderly.   When I got in the cab I told him the exact route I wanted to take.  As we got close to the first street I wanted to turn down I mentioned that it was coming up because it does not have a sign on it .. -  

He responded "you told me the name of the street, so I know.  You'll stress me if you keep repeating streets.  Turn here, turn there.  It makes me nervous!  I'm old you know".

Well, yes I could see he was old but good manners prevented me from agreeing, so I laughed and said, with a flip of the wrist –  "oh, you're not old".

"oh yes, I'm about to be 72".  

Now while 72 is not "that" old  and I am happy to ride in a car with my 75 year old mother driving, she is not driving in a professional capacity.  This guy drove faster than some of my younger drivers but his reflex reactions were slower!   

My driver then told me that he was driving buses in my area during the Martin Luther King riots in 1968. Now those were scary days!   It therefore surprised me that little old me, with an air-boot on my leg and crutches made him nervous!

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Do you live here?


So …  what is the one question the cabbies ask me most?     "How long have you lived here?"

They are not referring to my time in the States, but the time in my street.  They are not really making polite conversation; they are making a sort of judgement on my 'hood.

As most of you know, I live in a "transitional" neighbourhood and we have ongoing "issues" with drug activity and gun "play" – so I suppose it is in the early stage of transition.   A couple of years ago a taxi would not come into our area.

But I laughed at the guy today who asked "Do you live here?" !!  

No – I just got terribly confused and wandered, on crutches, into the bad part of town at 7 o'clock in the morning!! 



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Three weeks of “travelling”..

In the last 3 weeks I have "travelled" :

Once each to:
An undetermined Asian country (akin to a mystery flight?)
Sierra Leone

Twice to:

And …   four times to the Sudan!

I have had a smelly trip to another undetermined country, where I tried not to open my mouth, and I've ridden with one grumpy American who did not want to drive the way I wanted to go!

I have learnt about the killing fields of Cambodia, the civil war of Sierra Leone and the "unrest" in Sudan.

I have learnt about prayer beads and the special significance of some of the beads on the string. I have been allowed to hold a set of beads made of hand-made wooden beads (beautiful).

I have learnt that many Swiss are now buying property in Cambodia and Sudan is "full" of Chinese.  I have learnt that Bollywood movies are huge in Arabic countries.

I have learnt that no matter where my drivers have come from they share the same distaste for American food (with the possible exception of the grumpy American driver).

I have learnt that every one thinks Sydney is the capital of Australia.

Four weeks to go ………..


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