As every other Ethiopian, I’ve had some really good and sometimes really BAD moments in the minibus. But I’m not gonna keep calling it minibus anymore; everyone calls it taxi, it IS taxi!
Let’s start with the bad, shall we?
1- I’ll start with one that is maybe a little simpler. We’ve all experienced “WAR” to get into a taxi, either in the morning going to work or in the evening to get home. It’s one of the craziest moments ever and you will never forget them. Some people think that the wars are funny (like me; I’m always laughing as I fight :-D) and some really take it to heart. I’ve seen some really horrible fights—AFTER getting into the taxi. (pointless)
“WTH; why don’t you slow down man?!”
“You were pushing me first!”
“Shut up! Don’t make me smack you!”
“You want a piece of me?!”
Blah, Blah, Blah!!! The most annoying part, the taxi stops to resolve their problem. Let them fight/drive away.
Remember, this is after the taxi has taken off and they’re both in. And sometimes this conversation is between a man and a woman! It’s a matter of respect and how some Ethiopian men are lacking in that department. Damn, I’ve had a guy almost crush me as he fought his way through.
2- One day, very recently actually, my mom and I were waiting for a taxi together. Like always, there was none. There were so many people waiting, and as time went on, the crowd got larger. I don’t want to be squished; likewise, I don’t want my mother to be squished. So when a taxi finally approached, I told mom to not fight and that I would get a seat for both of us. As soon as it stopped, I quickly got on and secured seat 3 & 4 (as seen in my cute paint drawing 😉 ) and told everyone that got on that, that seat was taken.
This one man, probably in his 40’s said a couple of horrifying words and told me to MOVE! Lol I tried to explain that I was keeping it for my mother but he LITERALLY shoved me to seat 3. (I was sitting on 4) lol. Luckily enough, seat 2 opened up for mom and she got on quickly. Afterwards, he was like, “fine, where is your mother? I’ll get off for her…” Mom turned around and just casually said, “so, daughters can’t secure a seat to their mothers? I can’t fight like you, men do.” She was actually saying that nicely, and I was furious. Anyways, thinking about it makes me angry, so, moving on.
3- Some days are just plain horrible. If it rains, don’t even think about these minibus taxis; just go with the small contract taxis. They might be really expensive but, would you prefer to soak right there? These selfish minibuses would just drop off everyone at the wrong place and leave them standing there. Imagine all taxis doing that and you’re just standing there with more people joining you. This happened to me a couple of times now. I stood there in the rain for about 1:30 minutes or more. Bad days.
Anyways, I’ve seen many bad days. Customers and helpers fighting, breaking windows; young helpers (10-12 yrs old) cussing out people; women hitting these helpers… I’ve seen a lot, seriously!
There aren’t many of these, you know that. Lol.
These good moments aren’t GREAT moments; they’re just those moments that put a smile on your face.
1- You know when you’re in a rush, everything just seems to go wrong? You can’t find a taxi. There’s traffic everywhere. Or the driver is just sooooo slow. In these kinds of times, I tell myself to calm down; I’ll get there on time. (Sometimes that doesn’t work at all) Other times, everything just gets into place.
One day, I rushed by my usually taxi stop to find a huge crowd waiting for a taxi. One by one, taxis passed us by without a stop. Finally, one started slowing down. As it came closer to me, the crowd followed and I just thought, Oh please, please, pleaaaase stop right here. Weirdly enough, the taxi stopped right in front of me, giving me seat 2. (above picture). I got on, and as the taxi started to drive away, the driver said to me, “you know what? You just won the lottery. We were thinking about who to stop for and we chose you.” I just laughed. And as we went from stop to the next stop, the driver and the help, kept chatting, “who should we stop for? This one? No, no; the one in the red.” They made us all laugh.
2- Sometimes, the customers get on the taxi looking for a fight. Yea, that’s my theory. I was in this taxi once, and the driver and the helper were in the greatest mood. A man got on, probably in his 30’s, and picked a fight with the helper.
I think it was like a day or 2 after the gas prices went up, and the taxi fare went up as well. This man, I guess, doesn’t watch the 8 o’clock news or something. The helper asked him for 2.25 birr for what used to be 2 birr. The customer lashes out at him, “WHY WOULD YOU ASK ME FOR .25cents MORE? I KNOW THE GAS PRICES DIDN’T GO UP! YOU GUYS ARE THIEVES….” He just went on and on about it. The help replied as he laughed, “It’s cool man, don’t worry about it. Keep the .25 cents. You don’t have to pay if you don’t want to.” (note that this is in Amharic, so it is probably funnier in Amharic; this is just my translation.)
3- OK, don’t take this the wrong way, but I have some really nice taxi driver friends. Lol. Not literally. 😉 There is this one driver, I guess he lives around my house or something, who comes out of his house the same time as I do. If I get out of the house early, 7:30 or so, he will be parked down the street waiting for me. Sometimes, he even pays for me. 🙂 Good Days…
That’s it for today.