Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Avoid the Front Seat!

The driver wanted to make sure his taxi smelled real good. There were five air freshners hanging from the ceiling.
Dili is blessed? with zillions of slow-moving taxis.

I take one each morning to work. I step outside my hotel and within 30 seconds one shows up -- turns the corner at the end of the street, spots me, toots his horn as if to 'I'm here, you need me' and stops.

I usually climb into the front seat since the driver never knows the place that I need to go and it's just easier to show him where to make the turns.  One day last week as I opened the front door to sit down -- there was a huge wet spot on the seat. I quickly settled myself into the back seat.

Today, no wet spot, but another hazard that I just didn't notice til I sat down. The driver had placed a heavy metal pipe across the ceiling -- so it was almost impossible for me to sit up straight without banging my head. Then, when I tried to lean toward the window, there was a huge pink heart ornament dangling from the ceiling -- I was surprised I hadn't noticed it when I got in.  It banged against my left ear the whole way to the office.

It's also nearly impossible to see out the windshield. I've noticed that more than one driver has installed little round mirrors on the passenger side windshield. All the mirrors face the driver. I'm not sure what purpose they serve other than a chance for the driver to check himself out in the mirror as he drives along at 20 miles an hour.

When we arrive at my office, most drivers smile and say --"yes, yes, yes" -- as if they knew all along where I needed to go.

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