I took a taxi, all by myself- 3 times last week! This was one way of me “feeling independent.” You see, it gets a bit annoying to have to depend on men to be able to go somewhere. Being that I am a woman, I am not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. Why? Well, its the law. There are no public transportation systems in place here either (no subway or metro busses) thus forcing me to take a taxi, hire a personal driver, or use the hubby. I do have a driver that takes me to and from work each day. If I want to go somewhere to grab a bite to eat, I use a taxi. Thus...adventures always follow!I don’t know why it took me 7 months to realize that I could travel in a taxi alone. Perhaps I didn’t trust a stranger or maybe it was that I didn’t trust that I could navigate myself around Jeddah.
Now, a simple taxi ride here, always transforms into an interesting story.
Earlier this week, I walked out of my office and waited for a taxi to drive up. I then asked the driver if he could take me to Hardees. He said “yes.” I said, “Do you know how to get there, because I don’t.” He said “yes, I know.” I then said, “Are you sure?” Of course he said that he did, so I got in and off we went! We drove and drove and drove and I saw no Hardees anywhere. I did not panic because this is his job to know where places are. He then picked up his cell phone and asked someone how to get to Hardee’s. Oh brother! He didn't know! Ten minutes later we arrived to Hardee’s. I was craving a Frisco burger, so this was my motivation in taking this particular taxi ride. I asked him to wait, so that he could take me back to my office. I made sure he was willing and asked if it would cost 15 SR-he agreed. He waited, we returned and he triple charged me for the fare! Hubby taught me earlier this year that 15 riyals is the common price for one way. That’s about $ 4.00. So, when I handed the guy 15, he started shouting at me, “not 15….50.” Oh, one of us misheard the other, earlier, I guess. Well, 50 riyals is $ 13.00. I told him that I had never paid that much for a taxi here and that since he got lost and lied, saying he knew where I wanted to go, that I would not pay that much for the ride. He got angrier and so I took out 10 more riyals, handed it to him and he yelled some more. I simply opened the door…and said “bye-bye, now.” Later, I learned that it is typical for taxi drivers to try to charge Americans more money. I was flabbergasted as to how this guy would overcharge me-but I did not let it ruin my day. Actually, I was happy to have a new story to write about!
More interesting Taxi Tales:
Photo from: jeddahphoto.blogspot.com More wonderful photos of Jeddah are here!