Last week I went to a very nice party with our neighbors. We walked out to the sidewalk, hailed a cab, told the driver where we were going, and away we went.
Everything started out well enough. Our driver was taking the regular route to our destination, but then he exited a traffic circle prematurely and headed in pretty much the opposite, and therefore wrong, direction.
H-m-m-m---. Maybe he knows about some congestion and is avoiding it.
We got to the next traffic circle and I’m thinking, “OK, he’s gonna swing around here and get back on track.”
Nope. He drives up the hill into downtown El Centro, when we’re supposed to be going to the other side of town.
That’s it. I ask him in my best Spanish, “Where in the hell are we going?” He is visibly agitated by this outburst and his eyes start darting around.
Here’s a little tip from me to you: when your cab driver stops, rolls down the window, and asks a perfect stranger how to get where you’re going, you’ve got a problem.
Now I ask him, “What’s up, senor?” Understand, Cuencanos are loath to admit they have screwed up. No weak “the dog ate my homework” or “my grandmother died” here. These folks are pros in the excuse making department, probably because they get a lot of practice.
But this young man broke the mold. He freely admitted he was new to Cuenca and didn’t know his way around very well.
I appreciated his honesty and in this case no problem, because at least I knew the directions. With me navigating we quickly regrouped and got there a few minutes later. I didn’t ask for a discount for my assistance, but I did tell him how much to charge for the fare. And, yes, the fare was fair.
When I was telling this story to a friend last night he also had one for me. He related that once he and his wife were in a taxi when the driver suddenly stopped and told them to get out.
“Because I don’t know where this place is.”
There’s that honesty again, and he didn’t charge them anything for the aborted ride either. Fortunately they discovered they were only a few blocks from their destination and the story had a happy ending.
So, Cuenca readers, any amusing tales to share? There have got to be some other doozies out there.