Classic post: The Taxi experience
*Kind of busy today, so I hope this will do till tommorow. Originally posted here* So, you are one of the car-less unfortunate bastards who live in Cairo. Hi, I am one too. Like me you are likely to find the majority of the public-transportation facilities to be, ehh, lacking in them terms of treating its users as fellow human-beings. So you opt for the slightly more appealing experience: Taking a Taxi. But soon after you take one, you will discover to your horror that you just went from the Fire to the frying pan. Too harsh? Stop me when this sounds familiar… First of all, the majority of taxis in Egypt are cars that are at least 15 years old, which means that they were purchased at a time when seatbelts were considered to be a luxury item in your car, you know, along with power-steering, and air-conditioning. If you can get one of them to stop for you and get you where you want to go (most of them won't), you will experience the ride of a lifetime: The seats are uncomfortable, the space is small, prayers and CD’s hanging next to each other from the rearview mirror, the windows have no handles. Ohh, and the decoration, we can’t forget the decoration. Nothing like a blue strobe light on top of your head, alongside the ice-cream truck tune that the driver set up so it starts every time he hits on the breaks to make your ride fun. And the ride is fun, you know, in an adrenaline-rush-oh-my-god-I-am gonna-die kind of way. The driving is – of course- horrible, and the driver will almost always choose the longest, most traffic packed route he could possibly take. It’s as if he wants you to suffer the discomfort of sitting in his car for the longest time possible. But see, he doesn’t stop there. He starts to talk to you about the most useless topics (“The Mossad is financing Ruby. She is part of a Zionist conspiracy to make our youth horny and not pray!”), and you feel rude if you don’t converse back or at least nod your head. And if you just keep your mouth shut, the driver will start to punish you by turning the music/the Koran/the latest Amr Khaled tape louder. And if the Koran is playing you don’t dare to tell him to mute it or lower the volume, even if you have a headache, cause how is it possible that recitation of the Koran by some girly-voiced guy that is magnified and distorted horribly at the same time through the driver’s 1970’s speaker system contribute to your headache? Nonsense. But then the driver will start cursing the other drivers with the filthiest insults, while the Koran is playing, and you wonder why the guy has it on if he has such low respect to it. But alas, you just shake your head and let it slide, hoping the ride to be over soon. And you think when the ride is finally over and you get where you wanted that your troubles are over, but they are not. It’s time to pay him, and there is nothing to end this fun experience like playing Taxi-driver mind-games. They go a little something like this: you will ask him how much he wants (cause the meter is naturally broken) and he will tell you with all sincerity that he will take whatever fare you give him. You will then proceed to give him an amount of money which he will of course deem to be insufficient and ask for at least an extra 5 pounds. And when you ask him why he didn’t just ask for that when you asked him how much the ride was, his response will be "Well, I didn’t want to say it just in case you were going to pay more"! Ohh, so you wanted to rob me? And if robbing is too harsh of a word, well, you wanted to con me? Ok, no problem. But explain to me this you immoral asshole: What the hell is that Koran/ Islamic teaching Tape playing all about then? Do you even listen to it? I am not sure, but I think it's pretty negative on robbing or conning people. I could be wrong, but I doubt it! I hate Taxis in Egypt.