Is it sad when you get in a taxi and think you have 50/50 odds of getting into an accident? Because that’s sort of how I perpetually feel.
We just spent about 30 hours in Casablanca, where the city is quite a distance from the airport (about 30 kilometers).
Several days ago I wrote a post about why I almost always order hotel cars nowadays to take me from the airport to my hotel. That’s exactly what we did in Casablanca as well. The hotel’s Mercedes was waiting for us when we arrived, the driver was courteous and a good driver, the car was in good condition, we had air conditioning, and I could even work in peace during the ~45 minute drive from the airport to the city.
The transfer cost ~$65, while a normal city taxi would have cost ~$30. So, was it worth paying a bit more than double as much for a hotel car?
Let’s talk a bit about the ride from the hotel back to the airport this morning. There were no Ubers available in Casablanca, and the hotel car wasn’t available (I forgot to book it in advance), so we took a normal taxi.
The taxis in Casablanca are retro-chic. They’re almost all 1980s Mercedes, which I find charming on the surface. The car was well maintained for what it was.
So, how did our ride in a taxi differ from our ride in the hotel car?
Well, to start, we got in the car and the driver said it would take about five minutes for the car to “warm up.” So we stood there and waited for the car to “warm up.”
I looked for my seatbelt, and there wasn’t one. The driver said “don’t worry, I drive slow.”
He was a really nice guy, and had some interesting things to say. When he found out we were from the US he said how much he likes Clinton and Trump, but doesn’t like Obama. Hmmm…
About 15 minutes into our ride the guy stopped at a gas station to get more gas and have air pumped into the tires, which took about five minutes.
I’ve tried to be less of a back seat driver lately, since I’m someone who is scared of being in cars. The way I see it, driving is the most dangerous thing I do on a day to day basis. So generally I’m really tense in cars, and I especially struggle in foreign countries that have different driving standards, since I recognize I just have to close my eyes and hope for the best.
So once he was done filling up the tires he backed the taxi into another car. Matthew and I both clearly saw the car behind us, so I’m not sure how he didn’t (but we didn’t want to be back seat drivers). Then he got out and argued with the guy for a bit, and eventually asked us for the equivalent of $10 so he could pay off the driver he hit.
Then we were finally on the highway to the airport. Remember how the car didn’t have seatbelts and he promised to drive “slow?” Well apparently 140km per hour while tailgating another car is considered “slow” for him, because that’s the speed at which we drove all the way, while switching between lanes in our rattling 30+ year old car.
Towards the end of the ride he missed the exit to the airport and nearly ran us off the road when he was going to make a sharp turn to try and still make the turn, but fortunately he didn’t follow through with that.
I think I’m cursed, because I swear it’s more often than not that I get in a taxi and either get in some sort of an accident or scam. This is true in Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Frankfurt, Las Vegas, London, Warsaw, and many more cities. While I used to never take hotel cars, nowadays I almost feel like they’re the best money you can spend for cities without good public transportation, where taxis are the only other option.
Perhaps the moral of the story is to never get in a taxi with me, because I’m bad luck.