Another day, another taxi ride.
Taxi is something not so common in Italy. So expensive, and so hard to find.
But Cairo, oh Cairo is another story.
You can’t stay 1 minute on the side of the street without hearing a taxi honking at you “beep beeeeep (=need a ride?)” – and then you also have the choice:
- Black taxi: the “traditional” Cairo taxi. No meter (or a fake and/or not working one) and usually a very old car, with few exceptions. Because there is no meter you can either haggle the price in advance (before getting on the taxi) or take the risk and handle the amount of money you believe it’s fair at the end of the ride. It might involve some arguing.
Pros: sometimes cheaper, and if you haggle the price you know how much you’re going to spend in advance.
Cons: old cars are not that comfy and often lack a/c. And if you’re lazy or don’t speak the language, haggle can be a hassle.
- White taxi: newest option, they have a meter and cars are newer. The fare starts at 2,50EGP. I found that on long rides in the end I spend the same as with black taxi, so I often opt for this solution.
Pros: more comfy cars, and meter (=no risk of rip off), relaxing as there’s no hassle for haggling/arguing about the price.
Very good for lazy people (like me, ehm).
Cons: sometimes “retouched” meters can go up to way too high fares. So you have to pay attention and argue again if it’s the case:)
In case of traffic (very likely) the fare will obviously be higher, while with black taxi you fix the price in advance and you know exactly how much you will spend.
- Yellow taxi: the ones you book in advance, calling a toll free number (19730).
[nope, I don’t have a picture for this… ]
Cons: you have to call in advance to have one so it’s not a very popular choice but it’s good if you want to go to the airport for instance, or if you have luggage and need a cab right outside your building. Another con is that they are generally more expensive.
So here I am on a black taxi, I just stopped him and told him my destination. He said 40, I said 30, we agreed on 35. In other words, some 5$ for a 45 minutes ride (without traffic) – not a bad deal!
His car is very loud, all the windows are open (no handle to close anyway) and my hair is moving around like crazy.
The speakers are crackly broadcasting the Koran. Oh, I’m going to miss this.
This road has 5 lanes, and we are zig-zagging around them as everyone else. It looks like an anthill. But a fast moving one – a bit scary but I’m confident in the driver’s driving skills. He must have been doing this for ages. So he knows what he’s doing …right?! (Hope so)
Honking honking honking from everywhere. Driving in my hometown is such a quiet experience. Here, it’s definitely not.
It’s very hot. No a/c (black taxi…). You know when you feel like air is not air anymore, but some sort of fluid? Yes that’s what I’m feeling. But I’m kind of enjoying it. After the cold winter and all the rain, it finally feels 100% Cairo again!
Cairo, May 2nd 2011, 5pm