Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Taxi oh Taxi
There are bad memories and good memories in our life, including memories between me and taxi. Let start with the bad ones first.
The first happened around 5 years ago in Dominican Republic. As in Indonesia, there are both legal and illegal taxi there. But what we didn't know was that there is a "war" between those two. It was very difficult to differentiate the illegals to the legals cause they have similar shape and both put the taxi boardname completed with the light on top of the car. In the noon we can see the difference from the name written in the body. But in the night..it's really dark, especially in Cabarete (which is like Anyer here), only forest and beach around us. And we stayed quite far from the center of Cabarete. When taking a taxi, we also did not care whether it's illegal or not as we saw many people taking illegal ones.
So one night, we stopped a taxi. Found out that it was a sharing taxi cause there were already two guys inside. We did not care as it's night already. We were three, plus the two others and the driver, so there were total of 6 people in the car. As I was the only female, I took a front seat.
Just few minutes after we got into the car, suddenly the driver fasten his speed, very high. I was surprised and wondering what's wrong. Then I saw behind, there were some taxis were chasing us, also in high speed. Still did not understand what happened, I got shocked watching the driver drove the car like crazy. The number of taxis chasing us got increased and increased as other taxi along the road also joined the chasing.
It was really like hollywood movie, like police chasing the robbers, or like when two gangs in trouble. Scarry, shocking, my heart felt like stopped. Other cabs bumped their car to ours, trying to force our cab to the side of the road. But the driver insisted. Being forced from the main road, he took the side road which was full of bush. All the passengers behind lost their voice. I screamed and kept asking the driver to stop. Unfortunately, he did not speak English. I tried to speak in Spanish, mixed it a little with English, the best as I could..but then he answered with a very long sentences in Spanish, I could not get what he said except "no puedo".
Then nothing I could do except kept praying.
Just like an answer to my prayer, the car ran out the gas. So it stopped not because the driver wanted to stop, but because he had to.
Right after the taxi stoppped, all the chasers approached our cab, pulled the driver out. I didn't know what exactly happened to him, I think they beated him. But we were left inside the cab still with a shock.
Fortunately, the chasers, though they look rude, but actually they're sweet. One of them came to us, offering us a lift and he took us home. Then he explained the "war" between legal and illegal taxis there, and advise us not to take illegal taxis anymore. We did follow his advise after that. Coz our experience that night was such a nightmare.
And like once is not enough, I got the similar experience in Singapore. But in Singapore was better coz the road was crowded. I forgot how it was started, but the cab that I took argued with another taxi. They yelled each other, and suddenly the other taxi chased ours. The driver, again, drove like crazy. Took any way he could to escape. I could not say anything..just wondering how could this thing happened to me again?? The chasing finally stopped when we arrived in front of our apartment. We ran, stayed away from the taxi. The chaser still followed the cab till our apartment, then the chaser pulled our cab's driver away, fought..(story repeated). I remember some people approached and tried to help them solving their problem.
But fortunately, though Indonesia is famous of the brutality of the drivers in the road..hehe..but I never got that kind of problem with Indonesian taxi.
Besides the bad ones, I also got pleasant experiences.
When I arrived in Chicago for training, I called a limo to pick me up. Then the limo came, the driver helped me with my stuffs. First he didn't say much, but I noticed that he paid me a very big attention, not like an ordinary driver. He looks like a Pakistanish. Then we talked and I found out that he's a moslem. He's very happy seeing a moslemah. And yes, he's not an ordinary driver, he's a 7-11 franchisee and do driving just to fill his extra time. He told me about his family, that he has a daughter in my age. He's very friendly.
Logically, we've just met so he's stranger for me, but I felt save and felt familiar with him. I had no fear nor worry. He even stopped the taxi in front of Taco Bell and bought me a pizza. Then he left me his number and asked me to come to his house in the weekend.
He picked me up in the weekend to stay with his family. His wife cooked a lot to welcome me. Then his daugher accompanied me seeing the town, taking me to some interesting places. I felt really like with my own family. I believe..that's the power of ukhuwah islamiyah.
Another experience, again in Singapore. As usual I called a cab to take me to the airport in the weekend. At that time I was lucky that I got a limo cab with normal price. The driver was a Moslem Malay. We talked and he said he's happy to talk with a sister, again the power of ukhuwah islamiyah. He gave me his card and told me to always call him if I need a cab. But I felt ashamed to do so..I mean..I didn't want him to think that I use him to get a limo with low price. But funny, the next time I called the taxi office, it was him again who picked me up. So for some times I got limo services with normal cab price.
Again..referring to what my friend asked me..what's wrong with you and taxi driver??? How do I know? I think it's just an experience..a fate, or something like that. Everyone can get the same one. I just feel that those experiences above are really special.
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