Sunday, April 6, 2008

Taxi Driver

a couple of days ago -----> morning, looking for a taxi to go to work.
finally one of the new taxis stops and i kindly ask to the taxi driver to take me to the Corniche, next to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
it's a nice day, i feel happy and fresh and pumped up for a new day.
the taxi driver starts the taximeter, goes forth and after 20 meters asks me: "do you know where is Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank?".
so i reply: "don't you know it? i'm sorry i'll not waste my time" and while i get off the taxi he asks me for 0.10 AED fare (?????).
so my mood changes a little, but i'm so lucky that i just find another taxi waiting for me.
this one is an old taxi and the taxi driver is an old man with a long white beard, wearing his white peron-o-tomban and a skullcap on the top of his balding head: a sort of uniform for almost all the drivers of old taxis (most of them comes from Peshawar and i think this is a kind of their "traditional dress").
the old man is very friendly and we start to talk about the new taxis that Abu Dhabi government introduced a couple of months ago: they are pretty expensive and the taxi drivers don't know the city because their company recruits them directly from Pakistan to pay a lower salary... that's bad, i know! and it's also bad that i was not enough patient to explain him the direction (i swear i felt bad after a while that i got off!), but most of the time you just keep on turning around a place and pay a higher fare... and i'm sorry, but in the morning i'm intractable!
so i enjoy talking with the old man and i'm happy again. and i guess he is happy too since he starts to talk a lot to me.
then he asks me where i come from and since how long i've been living in Abu Dhabi.
i say: "ten months. still new..."
then it's my turn to ask him: "and you? since how long do you stay in Abu Dhabi?".
the picture in his car (his taxi license or something like that) shows a man much younger than him, so i guess the answer will be 15-20 years at least.
"i'm expired in the Emirates. i am here in Abu Dhabi since 32 years. i've finished my life here. now i'm ready to die."
and i've felt so bad for him. i was trying to say no, you still have many years... you can go back to Pakistan... and blablabla..., and then i've realized that this man is probably younger than my father, but he looks like my grandpa. life was bitter for him.
we talked a little more till i arrived down the office and he has been a very kind a nice person unlike most of the Pathan taxi drivers around.
the ride was 3.50 AED and i left him 10 AED. he tried to give me the rest back and i've said: "no, keep it! this is for you, for the nice conversation..."
so he smiled at me and said: "i will remember you italian lady!". yes, i will remember you too, Mr. Shiraz.
the western way to keep you conscience quiet...

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