Travelling by taxi is crazy but it’s also an adventure.
The driver drives at high speed with flat tyres. The taxi is old, nearly in the scrapyard. Poor taxi, if it grew a mouth it would plead with the driver to at least avoid the rocky parts of the road. Poor shock absorbers! The taxis lined up at the rank give no hope of departing anytime soon. When they do it’s a crazy ride.
The taxi driver is not relaxed, but on the lookout for traffic cops. He forgets where their passengers are supposed to get off. He annoys people, especially when you are a girl. He keeps asking for your number.
I am stuck between two thick ladies squeezed like a Vienna in a roll. It’s so early in the morning but the gossipmongers are already complaining about those dirty junkies –amaphara-phara – trying to rob them. Mam’Tshawe, the local gossip, climbs in and everyone goes silent. No one wants to be the next big headline. The driver is having a fight with one of the ladies about some short change. Then suddenly a lady shouts out, “Masambe! Sobe sibukelene nalombhodamo.”
“Sibabini kwi R20!” the impatient young lady shouts out. None of the passengers are paying attention, they laugh out loud as they discuss the changing cold weather. An old woman cries into her cellphone, “I hate the fact that I had to raise you, you are ungrateful. I wish I could die.” She throws her phone into her old torn handbag and engages in the conversation of the two middle-aged men next to her who are talking about the corrupt government.
The Boom-Boom sound tells us we’re in a taxi here. It sometimes feels like it’s beating from ear to heart. Umhlobo Wenene FM is the driver’s favourite radio station. “Ngwee-ngwee,” the baby at the back cries and everyone starts screaming in irritation. The driver is busy hooting and shouting at the cars in front like nobody’s business. I just can’t take this anymore. I put my headphones on and get lost in my own world.
Some of the places the taxis pass through are quite filthy. You have to pinch your nostrils and close the window to avoid the disgusting odour. Other places you just feel like stopping, getting out and taking lots of pictures. Sometimes you wish they would keep driving. You want the road to go on and on so you can see more places.
Travelling by taxi is sometimes life-threatening, sometimes funny but crazy all the time.