The Worst Cab Ride Ever

bya Gabrielle at 11:15 AM

The other night, Phil, Bo, and I decided to take a midnight run to McDonald’s to grab some burgers and hot fudge sundaes.  I had been craving a sundae for at least a week and really wanted to get one.  We probably should have just stayed home and gone to bed because our physicals were the next day and we had to get up at the crack of dawn, but we just could not say no to the American arches.

So, we did what any sensible, hungry American without a car would do; we hailed a taxi.  We had only done this a hundred other times, so we weren’t worried that we wouldn’t make it to our destination.  Linyi only has one McDonald’s and everyone and his brother knows where it is.  Or so we thought.  The first taxi we saw didn’t acknowledge us, but that was fine because another one was right behind it.

The particular cab that we jumped in only had one working head light and the body of the car felt like it was held together by a few strings of imagination. A few snips here and few snips there, and I think we would have had a Flintstones moment.  We all hopped in and told the driver that we wanted to go to Mai Dang Lao.  He repeated our destination and off we went.

Everything started out just fine.  The taxi was going in the right direction and we were getting closer and closer to fast food bliss, but then we noticed that the taxi driver passed the normal turn and then another turn that he could have taken, even though it would have been a little out of the way.  And then we were no where near where we needed to be.  Just as we were about to speak up and say something, the taxi driver did a u-turn and started back the way we came.

Again, the taxi driver passed the normal turn.  We looked down at the taxi meter, saw that it read 20 yuan and decided that if he happened to get us to the golden arches, he was only going to get 10.  The three of us were completely baffled.  We had no idea where he was taking us.  It seemed as though he was taking us back to the school.  Finally, he pulled over  . . . but not next to McDonald’s.  Instead, he brought us to another fast food joint open 24 hours a day – Mr. Lee’s.

This was mind boggling.  Bo, who was sitting up front, repeated our destination, but the taxi driver just stared at him.  Then Bo mentioned the land mark right next to McDonald’s, People’s Square.  The taxi driver perked up and repeated People’s Square in Chinese.  He was all smiles, like he finally knew where he was taking us.  If only.

The taxi driver started driving again, but instead of doing a u-turn, he continued down the same road that would take us back to our school.  Within a few minutes, we passed the school’s gates.  At this point, we were pretty pissed off.  This guy was taking us on a joy ride.

I leaned up behind his seat and asked him in Chinese if he knew where we were going.  He didn’t respond.  I asked him again.  Same thing.  I asked him over and over again, every time my voice becoming more serious.  It was as though I wasn’t even there.  Phil started yelling stop in Chinese.  Again, nothing.  I was beginning to get worried, and asked Phil if we should call the police.  Phil began to considerate it an option.

Phil asked Bo to try and get his attention, and finally, the driver pulled the wax out of his ear’s.  He finally seemed to understand that we were rather pissed off and stopped the car.  We weren’t too far from the school, but we were down one of those roads that I only like taking in the day – one that isn’t likely to get a lot of traffic at 12:30 in the morning.   Phil told us to get out, and we didn’t argue.

I think it was pure luck that another taxi showed up as we stepped out.  We frantically waved him down.  As soon as he came to a stop, we jumped in.  We told him where we wanted to go, but he sat and stared at us for a minute.  He was obviously confused with what was going on.

Our crazy taxi driver decided to get out of his car and started yelling at our new driver.  I wish for all the world that I knew what he was saying.  They exchanged a few words, but our taxi didn’t budge.  Our new driver looked over at Phil, who was now in the front seat and said something, God only knows what.  Phil began telling him, with his limited Chinese, what had happened and that the guy standing in front of our taxi was one crazy man.  A few more words were exchanged and the crazy taxi driver walked over to Phil’s window.  Why our driver did what he did next, I don’t know, but it made me very, very nervous.  He rolled down Phil’s window.  The two began exchanging words.  It was pretty obvious what he wanted.  He wanted his 28 yuan.

Phil is a pretty patient fellow, but at this point he was about ready to strangle this guy.  So, he did what any sensible, angry American would do.  He threw a few f-bombs out the window. It’s amazing what a f-bomb will do.   Perhaps sensing that he wasn’t going to win this battle, the crazy taxi guy turned around and headed back to his car.

Phil told our newly acquired taxi driver again where we wanted to go, and off we went.  Ten minutes later, we were sitting at McDonald’s wondering why in the world it hadn’t been that easy it the first place.

Categories: China,Chinese,Humor,Linyi
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