Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Cost Of A Taxi

Taxi, Staunton Street

Tonight we went to a restaurant on Wyndham Street, and then to the Globe, where everyone seemed to be drinking pear cider. It's not exactly Proust but the mere mention of this alcoholic beverage had us scrambling for a taxi to take us home, to watch Stewart Lee's epic pear cider material.

Unfortunately, as the taxi pulled up at the side of Hollywood Road, we saw that we had selected a vehicle driven by the smallest and oldest man in Hong Kong. He could hardly see over the top of the steering wheel, and if that wasn't bad enough he looked ready to pass out.

Luckily, the seatbelts didn't fasten properly in the back, so we had that to distract us as he veered down the road towards the freeway. It's not often recently that I've been scared in a motorcar that's travelling at less than 30 miles per hour, but this was one of those times.

When we got onto the freeway, I thought he'd accelerate, but after almost parking the taxi in a bridge support, he carried on trundling along at this funereal pace, while bus after car after bus after car streaked past us.

My fiancee was now getting agitated that he'd get us killed before we got home. After all, we were in the back, so it was most likely that a teenager in a Ferrari would come up the back of us and squish us into the back of the front seats, rather than for us to perish in a head-on collision. Which might mean our driver would survive. Oh, the irony.

To begin with, I was more worried that with the glacial pace of the car, the meter would end up costing us more than I had in my wallet, but my fiancee's constant murmurs that we were all going to die were starting to get to me. It was when we came off the freeway and stopped at the lights that we had the final straw. Our driver slumped to the side and appeared to take a nap before the lights changed, and then wobbled off again down the road.

We couldn't face any more of this slow speed torture, and got out as soon as we could after that. There's something wrong, I would submit, with an economy where people, no matter how old or knackered, have to carry on driving to earn some money. There's also possibly something wrong with the definition and enforcement of road safety laws if a man who can't drive straight and doesn't appear to know where he's going should be in charge of a taxi.

I knew there was a downside to cheap Hong Kong taxis.


Lennon said...

Give it to us straight, James. Like a pear cider that's been made from 100% pears....

Minnie Bus said...

2 bad taxis in less than a week. Did you ever think that the problem maybe is with you?

I rest my case.

Mr Cushtie said...

But ... but ... but Ms Bus, if I ever admit there's a problem with me, the entire illusion of infallibility I've been working on for so long will go down the drain.

Strangely, the pear cider routine didn't feel as long as I remembered this time around. Or maybe that's because my sense of time had been warped by the journey in the taxi

Minnie Bus said...

Forget about taxi. When in doubt go with Min(n)i(e) Bus!

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