Driving Dr Gledhill: Taxi drivers I have known (part one)

One thing I will miss about Bahia is the taxi drivers. They range from friendly, reliable and helpful – particularly Henrique (henriquetaxi@gmail.com), who was recommended to me by the Sacatar Institute – to the downright psychotic. Since the friendly, reliable and helpful taxi drivers don’t make for a good story, I will focus on the psychos.

The worst was the guy I call ‘rabid road runner meets The Shining’. I was going home in the company of an American friend – which meant that although we were speaking Portuguese in the taxi, his accent betrayed the fact that he was a ‘gringo’ – and hailed a cab near the Afro-Asian Studies Centre. Half-way along, the driver started speeding and I asked him to slow down. Using paggro with which I was all too familiar, he slowed to a crawl until he thought we’d had enough (I said nary a word) and started speeding again. Both my friend and I protested, but to no avail.

When we were finally nearing our destination, I told the driver to turn left into the cul-de-sac where I lived. Instead  he revved and tore up the hill to the right. My friend and I both shouted at him to stop, so he pulled over, turned around, and grinned at us with a manic expression that made me think he’d pull out a butcher knife and growl “Here’s Johnny!” We paid and jumped out of the car as fast as we could while he did a 180, burned rubber and vanished around a corner.  Just another taxi ride in Bahia…not!

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