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Taxi Horror Stories

Well, I have two taxi horror stories to relate. Once, in L.A., a shuttle driver promised me that he would get me to my hotel in under 20 minutes from LAX. During early rush-hour traffic, he realized that he wouldn't be able to both keep his promise and obey conventional traffic ordinances. He not only ran red lights, failed to stop for pedestrians in the street (cause, you know, nobody walks in L.A., after all), but he also jumped the median separating the north and south bound freeway lanes and began to drive the wrong direction on the shoulder of freeway next to us. Then, upon jumping back to our proper northbound lanes, he had to immediately stomp on his brakes so he could then back-up on the freeway to take the exit we had just passed. My God, I truly didn't think we would make it alive. But, he did make it in under 20 minutes!

My second harrowing experienced occurred in Cannes-LaBocca, located right next to Cannes, France. I, along with 80 other college students from around the world, were there attending the annual film festival as part of Kodak's worldwide Emerging Film Makers Programs. By the end of the festival, of course, we were all very tired, very broke, and looking somewhat forward to a leisurely journey back to the States. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 1pm and the charter bus (all 80 of us had prepaid $50 each for this charter bus to take us to the airport on the scheduled day) was to arrive at 9am, to deliver us to the airport by 10am...plenty of time to make the international flight to JFK.

Well, when at 10am came and went, and the Bus never showed, all 80 of us began to panic and we all began to call taxis in pairs to get us individually to the airport. To put the crisis into context, Cannes-La Bocca and Cannes are very small touristy districts...they only have maybe 15 taxis between the two towns. Plus, all the cabs are the size of Rabbits...really, only two people with luggage could fit comfortably in one...Plus still, it is a 45 minute minute commute to the airport from the hotel. So, my friend Kevin and I decided to take our chances with the taxis.

After spending two hours waiting on pins and needles for our turn to arrive, we finally were able to hail a cab. We climb inside only to discover that the cabbies had preset the meter to begin the fare at 450 francs (which at the time was roughly $80 in American currency). The cabbies told us that they were currently having a 'taxi shortage' thus, they were legally allowed to charge what ever basic fee they wished. As it was now after 12pm (our flight, remember was due to leave at 1pm), we weren't in any position to argue.

Upon reaching the airport, the total fare was over 900 francs! Kevin and I only had between us just over 800 francs...and the cabbies wouldn't take any American currency...Yet, he was unusually interested in the watch I was wearing (which now read 12:45pm) I offered the watch in lieu of the remaining 100 francs. He wavered somewhat, then finally accepted. So, the end is happy, Kevin and I make it to the plane less than three minutes before scheduled takeoff.

So, those are my stories! Thanks for the chance to unload!




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