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Monday, March 8, 2010

Another Taxi Post

I've blogged about the Cairo taxis several times before. For example here and here. But what about taxis outside of Cairo? Well, they come in different colors.

For example, in Alexandria, the color is a traditional yellow and black.

While in this town, the taxis are really a fleet of Suzuki micro-buses, painted green and white. These hold seven passengers.

And in this small town, look for black and white but plan on your ride being in a Tuk-Tuk.

Down south, in Luxor you might take a horse and carriage. If you stop at Edfu on a river cruise you will almost certainly take one from the dock to the temple.

But it is the interior that usually gets your attention. The windshield may not have have as much decoration as this one that I photographed a few years back.

And you may not have twin tissue boxes hanging from the roof of a van and shag seat-covers like we did this year.

But I'll bet there will be something memorable about your ride.

The book, Taxi, by Khaled Al Khamissi is a novel describing the life of a Cairo taxi driver. I thought about this book blurb for it today:
"A book to make you feel guilty you ever tried to bargain down a cab fare in any poor country." —Chicago Tribune"
We were setting out for the supermarket for a few items. Out local Metro store is only about 2 miles away as the crow flies. Of course that is more like three miles as the traffic flows. Since there are no traffic lights here, there is a lot of "up, U-Turn and back" to any trip. It was about three o-clock and most drivers appeared to be headed home. None were interested in a ride back up our busy street and onto the very busy Pyramids road. We had at least five taxis turn us down.

I didn't even get a "how much?" So when the next one stopped, I volunteered, "Twenty Pounds?" after he said, "No." That, of course, produced a "Yes." It is within the acceptable ten-pound ride range so I had basically doubled the fare.

I paid my two six year-old taxi-flaggers a quarter pound apiece and they were happy too.

In addition to the novel, Taxi, mentioned above, there is a good article on Cairo Taxis in the December, 2004 issue of Egypt Today. It is available on-line.

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