The Taxi Driver
One of the Greatest Drivers Ever
Getting around by taxi in other countries can bleed your pockets dry, but in China it is a relatively affordable option, so if you are in a rush to get to your destination why not hop in for convenience’s sake? Before the dominance of applications like Didi, one would have to stand by the side of a road scanning for that signal of hope…a bright green vacancy light.
Getting around by taxi in other countries can bleed your pockets dry, but in China it is a relatively affordable option. Before the dominance of applications like Didi, one would have to stand by the side of a road scanning for that signal of hope… a bright green vacancy light. Nowadays if luck isn’t driving over to you in the form of a vacant and willing taxi driver, then you can always order one on your phone. While there may be the concern of being scammed when you don’t know the exact route to your destination, these days the rules and regulations have been tightened and it's becoming rarer for one to encounter scammers. Chuck Wheeler humorously looks back at how every taxi ride can be a unique experience in itself.
Preparing for the ride
I have had to take a lot of taxis and the talents of every taxi driver have impressed me. Some drivers are new to the city and they take you on a
nd bit of a sleigh ride; but other drivers seem to have an innate, metaphysical understanding of the traffic patterns of the city. Good drivers know the best routes to take depending on the time of the day. Often during the morning and evening rush hour, a driver may have to take a few more risks and duck down some side-roads, secondary streets and commandeer the bike lane for a few blocks to make any progress at all. Here are just a few archetypical taxi drivers I have found including one of the greatest drivers of all.
Oh these guys make me feel a little nauseous. They bounce back and forth in traffic like a pinball careening around the table. Each time there is a small opening, even if it is between two buses, the wizard will bounce in there and pop out the other side as he cleaves two lanes into three. The pinball wizard driver uses near misses with other cars like flippers to launch the taxi at acute angles to traffic in order to gain the advantage. By the time you arrive, you feel grateful to stand still for a few moments.
These taxi drivers like to rush and roar through traffic like powerful fullbacks. Once they see an opening they jam their cars through there and break into the clear. While the fullback taxi driver waits at red lights, he plots his next move. The driver sizes up the competition, takes note of pedestrians and to wheeled traffic and finds the next opening. When the light changes the full back shoots through the gap and is once again in the clear and running for daylight.
At every opportunity, the rocketeer will gun the engine and hit top speed within five seconds. The taxi driver will push the pedal to the floor and literally fly through the center lane or open lanes of opposing traffic whenever possible. The Rocketeer races down the open road as if his life depended upon shaving ten seconds off his previous time for the same stretch.
One of the Greatest Drivers Ever
This master driver moved through traffic like a Grand Prix class driver in a pack of amateurs. I was on my way home from the office when I flagged down the taxi. After only a couple minutes it became obvious that this female driver was no ordinary taxi driver. Even though it was the evening rush hour, the driver had fantastic reaction time and drove as smoothly as a dolphin slipping through the ocean as she looked ahead and reacted to every traffic condition. I was not jostled one time as we glided down the road. Even with all the convoluted traffic patterns of rush hour, she navigated each one with impeccable skill. As I stood on the sidewalk outside my apartment, I felt as if I had been chauffeured rather than simply driven. I knew I had been in the presence of greatness. Thank you ma'am; you are a credit to taxi drivers everywhere.