Thursday, January 10, 2013

The other side of town

The taxi driver slammed his foot on the brake pedal, my luggage tumbled behind me and I braced myself against the front passenger seat to avoid being thrown forward. I looked up just in time to see our car stop millimetres from the back of the stationary car in front. I instinctively swung my head round and braced myself for the inevitable (second) screech of breaks as the driver behind was also driving too close. Again - by some miracle - we weren’t sandwiched.

The exorbitant taxi ride into town from the airport was not made any easier by my elderly driver who - it became painfully clear moments after closing the door - didn’t seem to know his way about the city. “All I know is that I don’t want to take the main road back”, he croaked. “Far too busy at this hour. I’d like to cut through the centre, but I don’t know my way around. Do you?” 

I looked at him in the mirror incredulously and was rather glad that his eyes didn’t meet mine because I preferred his gaze to be fixed on the road ahead. Knowing what you don’t want is surely preferable to wanting what you don’t know, I thought.  “GPS?” I asked. He thought for a moment. “Actually, I think the previous driver did have one in here somewhere” he replied, before diving with one hand into the glove compartment. Needless to say, he didn’t know how to work the device and I spent the rest of the journey barking instructions at him from the GPS in my hand.

“So you’re new to the city?” I offered up, sympathetically. “No”, he replied, “I’ve worked my whole life the other side of town.”

Oh São Paulo, most unforgiving of cities.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

but i'm glad you are back :-)

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