Friday, January 30, 2009

Taxis

In Cameroon, every second or third vehicle that you see is a taxi. They are easy to identify, because they are all bright yellow. (We once had a yellow Jeep for a year. It became very tiresome, having people try to flag us down, then either getting angry because we didn’t stop or watching us pass in astonishment, having never before seen a White taxi driver.) Taxi fares are very cheap. We can go several miles, from the SIL center to downtown Yaoundé, for about 40 cents. That isn’t the only difference from American taxis. Here we don’t call for a cab. Rather, we stand by the side of the road and wait for one to pass that has room for us . The notion of having room for us is also different. It simply means that it’s still possible to squeeze us in. It may mean taking a child on my lap, sitting half sideways, or sharing the front passenger seat with a stranger. The taxi doesn't take us to our destination. Rather, we get off at the point on the taxi’s route that is nearest to our destination and walk from there. It is possible to hire a taxi to take us to a specific place, without picking up other passengers. However, this costs about ten times as much. The $4.00 seems decadent here, and something we would rarely consider doing.

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