I am paranoid about sitting in a stranger’s vehicle; over here it alludes to a strange radio taxi vehicle. I sit at the edge of my seat, well, almost; as much as the seat belt will allow on the front seat.
Then I mentally map out all the roads, even the ones I don’t know. It just keeps my hyperpaced mind occupied. This eventually translates into a cartload of anxiety and the accompanying misery. For now I begin to wonder, about the pepper spray I never bought, whether I should roll down the tinted window completely and keep my bag out of sight but within arms reach, or roll up the window and fret again.
Well, it’s not always like this; some taxi drivers are very nice while others are positively charming , errr in a Marquis de Sade kind of way.
My fears are not unfounded. After all what do you say to the driver who throws all these expressions of affection at you, as in ‘my sweetheart’, ‘my babe’, with airborne kisses. Or for instance, this one time, a taxi driver looks deep into my rather terrified eyes and says, it was the Lord that sent such a beautiful lady to sit beside him that day; all his prayers were now answered. Flattered though I was,I took to listing out my options. Pepper spray? nope; Road map? seems to be driving the right way; Roll down window? did that; flail body out of car? danger of oncoming vehicle; keep driver occupied in conversation? yeah, great way to distract. So I told him that he was trying to charm me with his Guyanese accent. (This sounds rather lame to what my brother advised me to say, that I’m a grandmother to two kids ! Sorry grandmoms everywhere, nothing implied here, err… go get my brother). Home at last, great escape. Yikes !
Then another time, I call for a taxi and the guy on the other line is smitten by my (cough, cough) rather engaging voice. He wants to wish me a very good day, wherever I am off to, marks that I am elated and purports that I should give him a call when I get back. No, he actually makes me promise that I’ll call him when I get back.
But, jokes aside, this is my list that I resolve to adhere to while travelling in and around Georgetown or any town populated with suave taxi guys.
1. Be firm and act very confident, like you know where you are going. And no, do not pull out that tourist city map.
2.Let a trusted person or spouse know that you are headed somewhere.
3. Do not enter the vehicle if there’s more persons than just the taxi driver inside.
4. Occupy the front seat; keeps you visible from the street.
5. Roll down the windows if they are tinted and protect handbag.
6. Do not get into a taxi if drunk and alone at night. This is for all the bacchanals out there, I just partake of Adam’s Ale, Amen.
7. Be alert and talk on the phone with a friend to give him the impression that someone knows and anticipates your arrival.
8. Get into a taxi that has a valid registration or a taxi number; avoid private vehicles posing to be taxis.
9. Do not let a driver coerce you into using his taxi service, say a firm no.
10. This is what I do when I am travelling alone in strange places; I text the number of the taxi to my spouse or parents.
11. Don’t use a taxi, get your spouse to drive you.
12. Get a car !
Well, Mom and Dad, I hope I’ve allayed all your anxieties.
Taxi services abound; Indian Chief, Sherrif Taxis etcetera and they all cost $300 to $400 per trip within Georgetown. There are many taxi services mentioned in the telephone directory.