坐黑色的出租车 Riding a Black Taxi

And now for some of the more harrowing stress filled moments I have had since arriving in China. So I arrived in Chengdu around 11PM. I was tired and just wanted to get out of the crowd forcing itself through the airport exits as soon as possible. I walked outside and was determined to find a taxi and finally get to my hostel.  However, I happened to walk out of the exit that did not have the police run taxi stand.  I was walking away from the official taxi stand: if I wanted a smooth and comfortable taxi ride I was walking in the WRONG direction.

I somehow missed the line of about 30 cabs behind me and proceeded to walk into the unassuming darkness in front of me. I saw a woman jump into a cab and as it quickly whisked her away I decided that was an how people grabbed taxis in this town. I didn’t have to try to hard as a taxi driver waved me over and I entered his cap pretty quickly.

Once inside, I could not find the text on my phone where I saved the pinyin translation of my hostel. I started freaking out a little because I didn’t know how I was going to get to my hostel. It ended up being no problem as I could use my Lonely Planet guidebook (the things is a lifesaver) to find the correct address.

After giving him the address we began moving in what I initially believed was the correct direction. He then strangely passed his cellphone back with the numbers 160 on it. I thought maybe he was having trouble communicating with my whimpering and stressed out Chinese accent. It might of been a number to the central taxi HQ where I could talk to someone who knows English.

I was wrong, the 160 was actually the price that he wanted to charge me to get me to my destination. That is WAY expensive as the hotel already told me that taxis should cost around 50 kuai. We had a problem, he was trying to rip me off.

However, contrary to popular belief, I am not just another stupid foreigner. I told him firmly 50 kuai. He wouldn’t take it. He insisted on 120. I told him rather frankly that  I would get out right here (on the side of the road). I was practically yelling at him to let me out. At this point communication wasn’t his strong suit and I really had no idea where we were headed or what price he was expecting me to pay.

We circled back around the airport and went back to the passenger pickup, he rudely grabbed my little side bag and threw it in the front seat telling me to sit up front. I obliged not truly understanding why I was moving up front. He continued to swing back through the pickup lane looking for more people to shove into the back of his illegal taxi. Finally I had enough. I told him to let me out, grabbed my stuff, and walked away. I stumbled upon the actual taxi line and waited for 10 minutes and finally got into a real taxi that quickly whisked me away to the hotel.

Fun times! Do not randomly jump into cabs in China. If you do hilarity will ensue.


2 Responses to “坐黑色的出租车 Riding a Black Taxi”

  1. 1 Kathy Gorham
    August 19, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    I am having soooo much fun reading about your adventures. Love the running through the airport flip-flop less. The pictures are beautiful. It is sort of like you aer on the show Amazing Race! Thanks for letting us see China through your eyes and stay safe.
    Kathy Gorham

  2. 2 Amber Dostie
    August 21, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Nice story.. kind of scary.. and I will take it to heart. Hope the future cab rides will be better for you.

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