A Tale of Taxis . . .

Hoo-boy! Taxis in Jozi are something else. I think I said that it took me an hour to find a taxi at the airport that knew how to get to the address where I was staying? Well, it’s not too strange – imagine 13 million people spread out in single storey housing – it goes on for miles and miles and miles!

But on top of that, I’m sure the taxi driver was functionally illiterate. He seemed not to be able to figure out the house numbers, and when I told him we’d have to turn back, didn’t seem to grasp the fact thet if we’d turned off 7th onto 4th, and the numbers were too big, that we could just turn around and go across 7th to the other end of 4th.

OK, then next was the taxi driver whose car quit a couple times each block, then there was the next taxi ride where we got pulled over by the cops (Jozi cops are another story!!!) who were pulling everyone over threatening tickets for nonsense unless they got a bribe. There were 6 or 8 of them. My taxi driver took it with a grain of salt and told them that they’d just given him a ticket already this week because he didn’t have any money for a bribe, and he still didn’t because he had to save money to pay the ticket and if they gave him another ticket he couldn’t pay, he’d be out of a job, and they’d be out of a customer – so they let him go.

Now I know why all the guest houses have their favourite taxis, who know where they are, and whose cars work most of the time <G>

But everyone in Jozi was so friendly and helpful. I never felt hesitant about asking anyone for directions of help, and they were most forthcoming, even when they didn’t know. At one point, when trying to find where to buy a bus ticket for today’s trip to Durban, the lady I asked about where to find a taxi bundles me into her car, takes me to the bus station, waits while her house-help went in with me to get a ticket, and then drives me on to the art gallery where I wanted to go next. She gave me 7 phone numbers, her cell, home, business, sister, neighbour and so on, and said to call from anywhere in SA if I needed anything, and she’d know someone who could help.

Same in the line-up for Customs when I landed. A gentleman gave me his name and number and the numbers of 2 reliable taxi companies that he used – which I promptly put away where I wouldn’t lose them and still haven’t found them again.

Lots and lots to say about Jozi – it’s crazy and bizarre and I loved it. And the trip today was spectacular. I wanted to stand up in the bus and yell at people and ask them if they realised what a beautiful country they had.

Gotta go – using someone else’s computer and they want to go to bed.

Jozi - Durban landscape

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1 Comment »

  1. Lise said

    Hi Marilyn:

    It’s so great to be able to read about your adventures… I look forward to it every day… how wonderful…

    Take care and keep it coming… I know how slow computers can be in West Africa, so I can sympathize!!!

    Lise

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