Transportation Diva - That's Me

Maxi taxis - not fun!
Trinidad has a chronic traffic problem. When my daily life was more heels than flip flops, aka, when I was employed and part of the corporate rat race, I would be forced to wake up at ungodly hours (3.30am!) to get ready to hit the highway and avoid the morning frustration known as bumper to bumper traffic. If you were to ask me what I valued most, after the requisite family and friends answer, it would have been my car. This can explain the reason the roads are just oversubscribed by private motorists cause I suspect many people feel the same way. Why? Public transportation sucks.

I am not a fan of public transportation. In London, it is better than many places but still, I leave early to avoid what I call the armpit crush of London, i.e. having to stand on a crammed train with someone's armpit against my face, or if I am lucky to have gotten a seat, having to sit with someone's ass against my face.

Public transportation on my little rock though - abysmal. For most of the mini-vacation, I have had use of a car to go on my adventures, but I have had the moments of madness where I had to brave the streets by hand, i.e. sticking my hand out to flag down a taxi or maxi.

Last Sunday, I decided to exercise my rights as a poor student and refuse to fork out the ghastly $345 fare from Piarco to home. Instead I chose to maxi/taxi it all the way home - a ride that involved 2 taxis and 2 maxis. First, it was the maxi ride from Arouca with the driver who probably never heard of Colgate, flossing or mouth wash and who clearly did not realise that his breath was so heinous that my Japanese titanium glasses frames almost melted everytime he opened his mouth. This dude kept talking and talking and my eyes kept watering. Then there was the taxi ride from Curepe to San Fernando where this swami looking character or as he called himself, a spiritual counsellor, decided he would pass out flyers promoting his services as a counsellor to the soul. Nothing wrong with that. What I did not appreciate was him putting his hand in my handbag as he tried to push this flyer into my bag, and maybe help himself to some money (?). Needless to say, I did not use swami like language to make my point that he needed to not be all up in mih so and so bag!

Friday was the worst as I decided I would take the public bus home and everytime I asked the bus terminal attendant for an ETA on my bus, he responded "5 minutes babes...5 minutes". It was the longest 5 minutes of my life and after an hour I still saw no bus and was forced to pocket my ticket and walk to the taxi stand. That was another drama cause by this time I am fuming and brother man decides to take a back road, pick up some woman with bundles that could not fit in the truck thus displacing me from my comfy seat in the back and asking me to sit next to Mr Not-so-Delicious in the front. Then the smells from the man in the maxi from San Fernando to home.

Yesterday was another winner as I got a taxi driver who clearly thinks he is God's gift to women - greasy face, body odour and all. Just a side note: Trinidad is a damn hot place and being a taxi driver is bound to be a heated experience. Please...invest in a tried and tested roll on, and some mouthwash for good measure. And also wash your clothes after one wash - dried sweat smells, okay?

Anyway, he decides to make some phone calls, despite the fact that it is illegal to drive and talk on the phone, especially when going at least 40km over the speed limit. The first call went something like this:

Wha yuh cook?...Nutten?...I doh wanna buy food. I fed up eat Chinee food and roti. I passin' just now. Make sure it have food there when I pass.

What a charmer. But then he makes another call, to another woman. Trust me when I say the fact that he even had ONE woman was shocking to me, but two???

Babes, I brokes. Buy a phone card for mih nah. A Digi....What? Yuh cyah do that for your man? $10? That cyah call nobody! Buy it and text mih the number, right? .... Yeah, yuh know I love yuh.

Knight in shining armour! And all this time his eyes are sometimes on the road and sometimes on the chest of the cute lady in pink in the front passenger seat. I also had to ensure I had the exact fare cause he kept picking his nose and I did not want to hand him a $10 bill and have him finger my change with that hand, so I dug around desperately praying I had the $7 I needed to escape that fate.

Private transportation also has its own challenges as I learnt last night when we were locked out of the car and had to call the troops and enlist the assistance of strange men to assist. However, being the germophobe, hygiene anal diva that I am, it beats any challenge public transportation can ever hope to offer. If hating the smells and sounds of public transportation make me some kind of diva, then I am a rabid, ball busting diva!

4 comments:

  1. I'm sorry, but "Babes?" Really? Wish it didn't have to be that way with public transportation - it's become weirdo-central and the one day you don't have your personal space assaulted by groping, thieves, or another person's bad hygiene or lack of couth or proper up-bringing is, in fact, a treasured good day! But feeling of needing to shower afterward is ever-present, isn't it?

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  2. I really enjoyed your post today 'Babe' (hee hee) You had me laughing all through with your colourful description an just the right amount of cynacism. At least you're not sniffing armpits in the sultry buses of London at the moment.
    Great post.
    XOXO

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  3. lol, it's no laughing matter really but you put it across so vividly I just had to laugh, being subjected to it myself on many occasions :)

    Try the Water Taxi if you're going to Town, I love the experience on the boat. The water in the Gulf is calm so no motion sickness and the seats are wide and spacious enough to stretch out and fall asleep in. Clean and air conditioned too :) the only thing is the fishy smell at the dock while waiting on it. Oh! and the new coaches to and from San Fernando and POS are really nice too, better than the regular buses in that they're faster (fewer stops) and the system is just plain better. You'll find more business people using the new coaches and the water taxi also so less chance to meet the more interesting types :P

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  4. Wow your London experiences sound like my New York City experiences. Public Transportation is just as bad here. The subways are the worst here though. You have the armpit in your face or ass in your face choice and you have to watch out for rats the size of cats! It is so nasty. I prefer to take my chances and just walk to the twenty or thirty blocks to my destination rather than choose public transportation. The only thing you have to worry about when walking are gypsies and homeless people touching you. Maybe one day they will reinvent public transportation so it won't be so disgusting.

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