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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A little of everything ..


This morning I had the fastest ride yet to work – 10 minutes quicker than usual.   The guy drove like a maniac – it was a little worrying. 

This afternoon my driver drove like a little old man.  We sat at 'give way' signs for ages; no fast lane changes, no cutting in and out – it was getting annoying!

This morning the guy chatted away about sandstorms in Iran -  apparently he was very taken with a documentary he had seen.

This afternoon the driver grunted when I told him which way I wanted to go and did not speak again until it was time to tell me what the meter said.

This morning's taxi had an American flag which stretched from visor to visor.

This afternoon's taxi had little stickers all over the inside doors -  children's stickers…..  it was a little weird.  

This morning's driver was Moroccan, this afternoon's was Asian…….

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Quick Quizz

Yesterday afternoon I asked my taxi driver where he was from and he replied that if I guessed I could have a free ride.

I was not willing to make wild guesses based on appearance and an accent because this is fraught with the possibility of seriously offending someone.  So, we decided I could ask two questions to help me with one guess at the answer.

The questions could not include asking for cities in the country or for names of bordering countries.

So…….   my two questions:

Does your country play cricket?   No

What languages do you speak?   French, Arabic, English, and some Spanish.

I guessed the answer!!    It starts with M …. 

What two questions would you have asked?

(I did not get a free ride but he took a couple of dollars off!).

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