Thursday, March 6, 2008

Beijing Taxis

Yesterday I took an 11 RMB cab right. I didn't have exact change so I gave the cabby a 20 RMB bill. He gave me 10 back. I tried to tell him that I didn't have a single and he just smiled, told me it was ok, and said 'Zaijian' (goodbye).

Um, ok. Thank you.

As demonstrated above, most Beijing cabdrivers are *very* friendly. At times I get frustrated when they get lost, especially in situations like one last week in which I'd given my cell phone to the driver after calling the restaurant where I was going for lunch and asking the Chinese hostess to please explain the location; he still had to stop twice to ask strangers on the street for directions, then I finally just paid and got out when I saw the name of the shopping complex on a building a quarter mile away, in a neighborhood that would be difficult to navigate by car. The fast pace of change here means that office buildings, luxury shopping complexes and high end apartment complexes are being erected faster that the cabdrivers can learn about them.

My sympathy goes out to anyone coming here for the Olympics and needing to take a cab without having the mingpian (name card) with the name and a map of the location of their destination to show the cabdriver. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the pronunciation tutoring and language lessons I receive gratis during almost every ride.

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