27 Mar 2018

And Then A Taxi Ride...

I remember a while ago Mr Ward, over at his Slog Spot, while documenting his holiday in India, made mention of the wondrous tuk-tuk. I seem to remember, possibly wrongly, that he wasn’t too enamoured with that form of transport. Although not in India, I enjoyed the experience and used them with the idea, thankfully never tested, that in the event I saw the chance of an imminent accident, I would be able to dive out without being impeded by such trivialities as doors an’ such. Now, on reflection, owing to the requirement for all road transport to be no further behind the vehicle in front than two millimetres, if I’d been in an accident I’d probably have dived out and straight into the following tuk-tuk and thus into the same accident.

That sent my head back to one of my more memorable ‘taxi’ rides which came about along the lines of this:

The rig had moved to a ‘new’ country with new local crews way down in SE Asia. There was one young fellow who was totally new to the offshore world and for a goodly while I took him under my wing. As crew change day approached, he discovered I was also heading off the same day as himself and to show his appreciation of my help he invited me to his home to meet his family and take food. It’s hard to refuse an invitation to share food with folk with just about nothing when you have just about something yourself so I asked town to get me a later flight out and accept I did.

Long journey short, after I’d dropped my sack off at the day room hotel, we got to his home which was a shack in a shanty town way out on the fringe of the city. Built by the family and, as the others, cleverly built over a drainage trench to facilitate toilet and other waste requirements. Cometh the rain, cometh the flush...

So I spent a convivial afternoon eating I know not wot and  I sure didn’t trouble to ask for the sake of my stomach. I did, however, recognise the grasshoppers which were lovely and crispy. No, really. All thankfully helped down with copious amounts of warm beer.

Then it was time to get to the airport. I was informed that taxies would venture in to drop-off but never to pick-up and busses just didn’t happen but there was transport available.

I was escorted about fifty metres and found myself by the rail tracks – four of ‘em; this would be the main rail lines in and out of the city. I’m catching a commuter train? No, a loud whistle later and a fellow appeared with a flat board on a buggy which he deftly flipped onto the tracks, indicated I sit on, cross-legged, and with one foot aboard, pushed off with the other foot. As we gained speed he just stepped right on and continued accelerated using a pole punt style.

Man, it got good speed on and thought I to me, if this thing jumps the tracks I’ll be surfing, face down, through the gravel track ballast and sleepers. This resulted in me gripping the front edge of the board which in turn had me quickly thinking that in the event of an accident I’d lose all the  fingers of both hands before surfing, face down, through the gravel track ballast and sleepers.

At that point nature took over. I was already sitting cross-legged and rather than just enjoying the experience I was preoccupied with all matters health an’ safety and sensing how precarious my situation was, I naturally puckered-up and thus found I’d adhered myself to the board by suction...

Eventually we arrived at the level-crossing on the main road, a trip of about three miles. I paid my fare - doubled-up - and left the lad to wait for a return fare. Then, by the ingenious use of a few busses going in various directions, mainly wrong, and a couple of taxies, I got to the hotel, grabbed my sack and made my flight.

Below are some Web pictures of track trollies and they’re all way more luxurious than my beauty which was just a flat board on a buggy. And how cool is that motorbike then? I never saw one of those – not even in Vietnam. Anyhoo, taxi ride of a lifetime and another tick, at the time, in my book of ‘Things I’ve Never Done Before.’

   rail    maxresdefault   Track Taxi  PHILIPPINES OIL PRICE INCREASE


Imagine the screams of outrage if some enterprising young buck launched one of those on some stretch of our abandoned track system as a service between a few villages.

Quote;  James Lipton.

“I think that anybody's craft is fascinating. A taxi driver talking about taxi driving is going to be very, very interesting.”


Caratacus said...

Don't know if you ever saw this, Mac - (not for the Timidadians) but you reminded me of it so it's your fault :-)


Caratacus said...

My apologies, Mac - I've just re-read Stanislav the Plumber and I'd forgotten just how ... ribald ... it is. Hope your readers aren't too offended.

Mac said...

Apologise? And you see a need to apologise why exactly? Wrong use of pronouns perchance?
If you feel ‘we’ could be offended, here’s one, off-topic as they say, back at ya’. Headphones advised if you’re in polite company...