Traveling in a city and in a language that is totally foreign to one’s current existence, is always exciting. Here is my thoughts on my partners in travel, the taxi drivers in Beijing.
I arrived via bus at the Ken Tai Hotel on August 18. After getting my credential in quick fashion, I grabbed a taxi and headed to my hotel.
Not knowing Chinese at all, I found a volunteer who could write Chinese and understand my English, so he wrote up a card for me, with English name of Hotel for me and Chinese language for taxi drivers.
This has come in quite handy around town.
While I walk three to four miles each day around the stadium, and to various meetings, my taxi ride from my Holidy Inn Express to the Birds’ Nest cost me about 13 yuan, or $3 each way. I show the driver the Chinese characters for where I want to go, and most of the time, I get there.
Truth is, most many Chinese taxi drivers can say in English is “bye, bye”.
I have only had one taxi driver who just did not care and dropped me a ways from a meeting. Another guy, thought, bent over backwards to get me through police controls to a meeting.
I never drive anywhere when I travel. I always use taxis (well, I have tried Uber, in some cities, still concerned, but that is my worries).
Today was an interesting experience.
Taxis would not come this morning until I doubled the charge I would pay if they came. In seconds, a car was in the hotel driveway.
The driver was very curious. He got me to the Stadium quickly, but his monitor said 13 yuan. I paid him 32 yuan for getting me to the stadium quickly and without incident. The cost of $4 did not bother me in the least. He made his money and I got to the stadium.
I wonder how Mao Tse Tung, founder of the PRC, would consider the taxi driver-passenger relationship?
An economic need answered.