Let me begin by saying that I have a lot of love and respect for the taxi drivers in Cancun. After 5 years of taking 2 or 3 taxis a day, I have had many a fascinating conversation with these fine people, and they are typically very respectful and friendly. That being said:
Ew Ew Ew Ew Ewwwww! Today’s commute was a horrific experience.
Normally, I love being carless in Cancun. I don’t have to hunt down parking spaces at Plaza Las Americas, I don’t have to try to read other drivers’ minds since apparently there are no traffic laws in Cancun, and I don’t have to pay “mordidas” (bribe money you pay to traffic cops to get out of a ticket… even when you haven’t done anything illegal).
Thus, I am dependant on taxis to get almost anywhere. It’s not as bad as it sounds because you get pretty much anywhere in downtown Cancun for about 2 dollars.
Today, I hopped into a cab to go to work. About 5 minutes later, the cab driver offered me a Halls candy. I thought, “Golly gee, what a nice man. Still, I’m chewing gum, so I’ll pass.” I politely declined.
When we arrived at my office, the driver once again offered me a Halls.
“No, but thank you! Have a nice day!”
“Come on… just try one.”
“Um… no really… it’s cool.”
“TRY ONE!” The driver now had an eerie glare and was shaking the Halls package at me.
“No thanks! Have a nice day! Bye!” I slammed the door and ran into the building.
Thank goodness I was sitting in the back seat! For years I always sat in the passenger seat. Since Cancun taxis are collective, that allowed the driver to pick up 2 or 3 more people in the back of the taxi, so long as they were going in the same direction.
I stopped sitting in the front seat a few weeks ago, when a charming taxi driver thought it wouldn’t be awkward at all to sing to me the entire way. That morning, I got to hear 4 songs by Pedro Infante (a famous Mexican actor and singer from the 40s) along with an original song that the driver had written for his daughter’s wedding.
That day, I was stuck between three thoughts. First, how does one respond to a serenading taxi driver? Second, how fast can I get out of this situation? Third, this guy has an amazing voice!
Since the serenading taxi driver incident, I always opt to sit in the back seat.
What have I learned from my taxi experiences? Ladies should always sit in the back seat, and nobody should ever accept candy from strangers.