Friday, February 21, 2014

Is It a Taxi Ride or the Indianapolis 500?

Hey all,

Today's blog is about risk.  That's right.  Risk.  What is life without it?  Monotonous, uninteresting, downright dull.  I believe life is an adventure and sometimes it takes a bit of risk to make it more exciting.

In fact, I've often thought a small daily dose of risk makes living more fun.  When you get up in the morning do you consider getting out of bed risky?  Or, are you on the other end of the scale and wonder whether your morning risky undertaking will be paragliding or diving with great white sharks?

Most of us play somewhere in the middle.  We choose when and where to take risks.  But I've learned that sometimes risks can't be planned.

Risks choose you.

Now as you know, I've traveled extensively.  And in traveling I've used planes, cars, trains and even scooters to get me where I want to go.  Yet overall, it's public transportation that I use the most.  And each time I do, I take my life into my hands.

Seriously.  I've used motorcycle taxis in Thailand and prayed I'd make it as the driver weaved drunkenly through the traffic.  

I've held on with both hands and choked back a silent scream as the bus drivers in Macau went around curves literally on two wheels.  

And I've ridden with my mouth open in shock as we bucked and farted through Cambodia on the back of a Tuk-Tuk.

When I was a young woman, I did a music tour through Europe and spent some time in Italy.  It was one of my first times out of the USA and since I was from a small town, I'd been in a taxi only a couple of times.  So NOTHING prepared me for the adventure of driving in a taxi down the small streets of Naples.

I was terrified.  All I can remember was grabbing on to my boyfriend Rick as the taxi went hurtling down one of the roads--aka--alleys.  The buildings were so close to my door that I could have reached out and touched them.  But that wouldn't have been so bad except the taxi was going at least fifty miles an hour at the time.

I'm not kidding.  And so one terrifying taxi ride was my yardstick against any other scary mode of transportation I'd undertaken.

Until now.
Brasilian taxi drivers are an experience.  An adventure.  In fact, I think that if you looked up extreme sports, you'd find "riding in a Brasilian taxi" one of the top ten.  :-)  And here in Rio de Janeiro, the taxi drivers are the best of the best (also known as the scariest of the scariest).

Each time--and I do mean each time--I get in a cab here, I know it's going to be terrifying.  I've decided Rio taxi drivers are either the best drivers on the planet...or the worst.  Defensive driving isn't in their vocabulary.  Offensive driving is the way of the world down here.

Weaving through other traffic, driving EXTREMELY fast, cutting each other off, driving EXTREMELY fast, passing on the right, driving EXTREMELY fast, using the sidewalk to get around a slower car (seriously...it happened), driving EXTREMELY fast, stopping in the middle of traffic to pick up a fare and oh, did I mention?  Driving EXTREMELY fast?

Riding in a taxi in Rio IS an extreme sport.  I've learned to close my eyes and dream, otherwise I'd be so stressed by the time I get there, I'd collapse on the pavement and kiss the ground in relief that I'd made it in one piece.  Honestly, I've never been so scared of doing something in my life.  And since the only other way to get there is on a bus (which takes FOREVER here) or walk, we don't have much choice.

Yet, I haven't seen any accidents involving taxis.  So I guess that means they ARE good at what they do.  But, no matter how good they are, I have to admit I'll be happy to leave here.

A person can take just so much risk in their lives.  And since I plan to go diving with great whites someday, I don't want to use up all my good karma before that happens!

Have an interesting story involving taxis?  Share it in the comments below!

Hugs and see you next Friday...

CJ England
 








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3 comments:

Phylis said...

Was going to comment yesterday but was at Mom's and couldn't remember my Google password. lol I have never been in a taxi before. Almost makes me not want to ever get in one! lol Safe journeys CJ!

Ray said...

The first time I was in Yokohama was the first time I rode in a vehicle on the left suite of the road. If that and the weaving in and out of traffic at breakneck speed wasn't bad enough the driver would drive on the tracks playing chicken with the trolley. The first time the matador at the wheel almost caught his cape on the metal beasts horns.

One of my Neapolitan traffic experiences was riding in a six wheel drive military truck from the piers to the NATO base. Inside a tunnel traffic came to a standstill. The US Marine driver put all six wheels on the sidewalk passing at least a dozen cars. For sme reason it wasn't scary. Maybe it was because in Sicily I drove the way the locals did, passing between two trucks going in opposite directions as I drove down hill around a curve.

It's a good thing Italians aren't as easily distracted as Americans on the road.

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