Sunday, May 11, 2008

Taxis in Dubai and Hong Kong

Last night I drove a man and woman who are in the U.S. Navy. They're in port for a few days and they commented how nice I am and my taxi. Too many compliments, really, even about my good driving. What's the deal? I asked. They had recently been overseas, and took a lot of cabs in Dubai and Hong Kong, and here's what they said:

In Dubai "the cabbies are insane." They break every law imaginable, and it's somewhat frightening to ride with them, and it's also a lot of fun -- like being on a ride at Disneyland. The cabs there have a little black box near the meter that beeps whenever the car exceeds the speed limit. It's an annoying reminder to the driver that he needs to slow down. Some drivers let off the gas when it starts beeping, and some don't care. The Navy guy said he and his fellow servicemen often hand a driver a $20 bill and say: "Keep that thing beeping the whole way. We're in a hurry." They always oblige.

They also told me about a problem they had in Hong Kong. A driver had placed a small piece of tape over the decimal point on his meter, and when they got to a restaurant (from the port area), the fare was $15.00, presumably in Hong Kong money, but it looked like $150 on the meter. A shouting match ensued, and the navy people walked away from the cab without paying anything.

They told me after all the weird cabs, and cabbies, overseas, they were glad to be sitting in a large, clean, comfortable car being driven at the speed limit.

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