Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Taxi Drivers

Generally speaking, I love taxi's here. They are relatively cheap, especially when compared to prices in the US, and it gives me a chance to practice my Arabic without being able to revert back to English if I can't across a point. Additionally, taxi drivers here in Amman rarely try to rip off foreigners and more often than not, after the typical 'where are you from' conversation, I get a friendly 'welcome to Jordan' greeting. I'm sure after I've been here for 8 months, I will still be welcomed to Jordan.

On several occasions I even had a taxi driver buy me some coffee and juice on the way to my destination. The first time, the driver asked if he could make a stop for some coffee and cigarettes and hey, I wasn't in a hurry so I said sure, something I didn't regret while sipping a nice hot cup of turkish coffee a minute later. The only challenge was trying not to spill it while the driver navigated the crazy traffic of Amman, which is made worse by the 700,000 extra cars, mostly from the Gulf countries, during the summer.

After being here exactly one month, I had my first experience of getting ripped off by a taxi driver. Ariana, Peter and I got into the taxi around 11:30, shortly before you have to bargain for a price, which starts at midnight. Apparently the meter was 'broken' or something but we were tired and didn't want to wait forever for another taxi so we agreed on a price of 3 JD, just a little more than what it would usually cost. You can imagine our dismay when we got to our destination, Ariana handed him a 5 JD note and he said 'no, 6 JD' We were out the 2 JD as he certainly wasn't going to give us change but we sure as hell weren't going to give the lying, cheating taxi driver another cent. Lesson learned; wait for another taxi if the meter is 'broken' and/or carry 1 Dinar notes at all times, if possible. And get ready to pull a ''throw some money to the front and run real' fast if need be.

1 comment:

  1. Lesson learned: It doesn't matter where you are in the world .. there are some taxi drivers who are just this way. Shame on him, and agreed, don't get into taxis with broken meters. I wouldn't do it in Chicago or New York, so I wouldn't do it in Jordan or anywhere else for that matter. There are, unfortunately, dishonest people everywhere in the world, not just there. I wouldn't be surprised if New York taxi drivers took advantage of "foreigners" themselves in the same way. Have fun, be safe and always travel in groups! Love you!