Sunday, November 6, 2011

Three wheels are better than none – I guess

taxi001What looks like a glorified hotdog cart, has three wheels, a motor and smells like gin? The little taxi contraption that Sara and I got into after our walk around the Forbidden City.

Even though we successfully managed to ride the subway down to the Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City we decided for the sake of Sara’s legs we would hop a cab back. Now, as is par for most tourist destinations there were cabs waiting to take folks anywhere they wanted to go ~ for a price. See hacks like to grab fares from popular sightseeing destinations sans meter – negotiating an unusually exorbitant price.

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We had about a 20 minute ride, a little less than six kilometers. The first cabbie quoted us something like 150 Yuan which equals almost 25 bucks US. Well it was also about three times what I thought we should pay so we politely told him to go packing. We whipped out our map and decided to walk a bit further away from the touristy area and try and find a cab with a meter.

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Half a block away, while I’m walking looking at my map, one of these three wheeled little tin boxes pulls up and the driver asks us where we are going. Mind you though, he’s speaking Mandarin and we English but I show him the major landmark near the apartment we are borrowing for the weekend rom our librarian friend Trish ~ Workers Stadium. He gives us a thumbs up and I ask how much. 50 he says – perfect exactly what I figured would be fair so we squeeze into the back and off we go.

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It was once we were in the tin can confines of the three wheeled dervish that we both noticed our driver smelled very strongly of adult beverages. He was either hammered or riding with a bucket of formaldehyde sloshing between his legs. We careened through traffic – our horn beeping like a flock of Canadian geese headed south. Sara commented that it was probably a really good thing we were facing backwards.

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Thank Buddha we arrived at our destination in one piece. but then when we gave him his fifty he tried to tell us that he meant fifty for each of us – he wanted a hundred now. I told him “Boo Yow” which I am pretty sure means NO Want and we hopped out of of his tri wheeled coffin. He didn’t even hesitate as he looped around and swerved back in the direction we had just come.

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