Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Taxi in Luxor: A Lesson In Patience

The bane of my existence are taxis, specifically taxis from the airport. I write about them all the time and no matter where I go I always have to deal with their shady ways.

As a former taxi driver, I can sympathize with them for the long hours and poor wages. Still, that doesn’t give them the right to rip people off.

I landed in Luxor and had to rely on my own wit to get me to my hotel since Uber is only in Cairo.

“100 Egyptian pounds,” the first driver said. “80, 70, 60,” the next three offered. The fifth escorted me to a billboard with ‘official’ prices. My hotel, spelled incorrectly, was 55.

“You see, this is the real price, the one made by the police,” the driver said as he pointed to a uniformed official. “Don’t you trust the police?”

That last statement was hardly reassuring. I said no thanks and proceeded to take a seat outside the airport and engage the drivers in a friendly contest of patience.

Who would break first? Would I give in to inflated tourist prices on account of being exhausted? Or would the driver realizing there are virtually no tourists in Luxor come down to a fair fare.

Moments later, a driver approached me and asked, “Where you go,” though he already knew from gossiping with his colleagues in Arabic where I was headed. Not known to him was the fact that I could understand what they were saying.

“I’m going to my hotel,” I said. Then my favorite game of ‘best price’ began. Here’s how it went:

Driver: “My friend I want to be honest with you.”

Me: “Why?”

Driver (off-guard and with big smile): “Uhh, because you are my brother.”

Me: “Ok, then 30 EGP (10 more than I originally wanted to pay).”

Driver: “The police price…”

Me: (interrupting). “30.”

Driver: “40.”

Me: “30.”

Driver: “35.”

Me: “30.”

Driver: “Brother it’s five EGP.”

Me: “30.”

Driver: (walking away)

Me: (sitting)

Driver: (turning around) “Ta’al.”

Me: (knowing this means ‘come’, insert smiley).

The rate should’ve been 20 but I gave in a little. I was tired but not tired enough to get exploited. Sorry boss.

His old school ride was fresh.


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