Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Tale of Two Taxis, or, the Wives of Cab Drivers

I had two very different taxi experiences today, and thought I'd share them:

This morning, my hotel was loading luggage by the score (that's 20 to you young'uns) into a giant truck, and so I had trouble getting a cab. When I did get one, I explained in my rubbish Spanish that I needed him to take me to the hotel where my colleagues were staying, and then take me to the conference center. Immediately, he launches into a long explanation (in Catalan-accented Spanish, no less) about why he can't take me to the conference center. I managed to gather that it had something to do with his wife, because he kept saying "la senora" and making a gesture with his ring finger (though there was no ring on it. Hmm.).

This afternoon, upon leaving the conference center, the caballero who picked us up misunderstood our Spanglish instructions and had to backtrack to my friends' hotel. Once he and I were alone in the cab, he tried to have a conversation with me after I apologized for the mix-up. (One thing you have to admire about Spanish cabbies is their persistence: They will continue talking long after you've stopped understanding them.) But he was actually making an effort, and between the two of us speaking bits of each other's tongues, I managed to tell him what kind of conference I was attending, when it ended, and so on. Unfortunately, my attempt at the word "journalist" got misunderstood as "cardiologist" so he was telling me how well he ate, that he was a runner, and that he had stopped smoking a year ago. He credited his wife, said she was "la generale de la casa" (pardon my grammar). I said I was at my house too (after an awkward pause in which I struggled to remember my first person pronouns). He asked if I had children (there was a precious hand gesture for this, a rounded tummy!) and I said no, sadly. When we got to my hotel, he told me it had been a pleasure and he shook my hand! Quite the charming fellow, the complete opposite of the first cabbie.

Of course, I tipped generously... And now I need to hit the cash machine before dining here.

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Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

Maybe the first cabbie couldn't take you all the way because he had a divorce hearing (hence the empty ring finger).

8:18 AM  
Blogger oldest kid said...

Or perhaps he was actually on his way to his wedding, and would soon be acquiring a ring!

12:38 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

Or maybe he was going to have a manicure and he didn't have time to get you to the convention center.

4:06 PM  

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