Friday, August 05, 2011

More holiday taxi hatred

I enjoy talkig to taxi drivers in the Uk. If they like to talk, then it can be interesting. For exmpla one time, a taxi driver told me that he had got into fight with a younger driver over who was going to use an air pump first. He said the guy looked as though he was on drugs and he wanted to fight The driver told me he beat the guy up quikly because he was so unfit that he would be able to cary on. This sounds arrogant, but the driver was out of shape and not bragging just letting me know the importance of fitness. I learnt a valuable life lesson.

However somehow when I am on holiday taxi drivers turn from providing a useful service to people who want to get from A to B, to a person who wants to steal all my money.

When I arrived at Rhodes airport I looked around for a taxi. Strange I thought, normally airports are full of taxi drivers who are trying to drive people places. But I didn't see any taxis. After walking around in typical confusion, I decided to ask someone. An official said "the taxi drivers are on strike --your best bet is to get a bus".

Given that I didn't have an accurate address and the hotel was in a snall village close to the airport. The bus was not an option. I should point out that I arrived in Greece at 22:40, so this was all done late at night.

I had read on the web site of the hotel that they would pick me up. Although I am an international traveller I don't make so many phone calls. I have a cheap phone and I am not an expert on international dialling codes. So I spent some time trying various options like the pay phone (that wouldn't take coins), before discovering I was calling the wrong number on the print out from Expedia.

After I arranged with hotel for someone to pick me. I was waiting at the airport entrance. I looked over and saw the taxi rank. There were a number of taxi driver waitin there, looking a bit hostile and consperital -- not just a bunch of lovable crooks. A black taxi stops in fron of me. Two drivers from the taxi stand rush over to him and start talking to the driver. A women gets into the car. It looked like a scab driver was taking a ride. I suddenly thought that asking the oerson from the hotel who was going to drive me to the hotel to pick me in front of the taxi rank of striking drivers was not such a good idea. What if they walk over and kick the shit out of him and set fire to his car. Look I have read "The general strike" by Rosa Luxemberg, but it was 23:00 at night and I wanted to get to my hotel. I didn't want t phone the hotel again to sat "look the last person you sent got beaten up. Can you send someone else, but I will meet him someplace else."

I was thinking all this when a taxi driver comes over from the striking taxi rank and asks me if I need a ride to my hotel, because they had seen me waiting for a long time. I as trying to explain him that the hotel was going to pick me up, which he wasn't so happy about, particulary as the figure of 50 Euros was mentioned for a 5 minute drive.

Five minutes later the driver for hotel turned up and I got into the car without the need for violence (or cowardice on my part). When I got to the hotel. They gave me a complemantary beer. So all was well.