Thursday, February 25, 2010

Korean Taxis...hit or miss

So I've been seriously doing some thinking about Korean taxis. They are like a box of chocolates ... you never know what you are going to get. Some times you are presently surprised and others leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For instance the other day I hopped at cab t work being lazy and not feeling like hiking the hill I flagged a taxi not far from my apartment. I got n and n my best Korean told the agishi my destination. To my surprise I found out that he spoke English. Asaaa.... well not so fast. We exchanged pleasantries he asked me where in America I was from. He made some strangee American reference and I just shook my head " Yeah". Then he asks if I like music. I shake my head yes and he says " me too I like the Michael Jackson and the jazz" I tell the nice agishi that I like old school MJ and  Jazz too. He asks about the details surrouding MJ's death... as if me being American means I have the inside scoop. " So sad, I grow with the Michael, you know" ... "Uhuh" I responded shaking my head. He then clicks on his MP3 player and plays his favorite MJ song. Some obscure song I've never even heard before. He taps the LCD screen " you know?, good song right"
" Ummm... no but I guess"I responded. The driver then asks me about where Ive traveled, then tells me his whole life story over the 20 blocks it takes to get to my school.Wanting to read a quick chapter in my book I opened the novel but the agishi didnt seem to care and continued to talk about famous jazz musicians and his business he opened in the 90's. Sometimes I just like the agishis that speak only Korean , then they aren't compelled to talk to me. Since i was forced into a  language exchangee, does this mean I get a discount on my fare?
On the other hand you can get a driver who cusses at everyone who drives on the road and almost gets you into a car accident. On the way back from dinner in Itaewon one night Kate and I hopped a taxi to Yongsan station to catch the train home. We didn't know we were in for the ride of out lives. At first the agishi was nice and even rolled up the window when I said I was cold, which is rare in Korea. Then as he hit the main thorough fare he put on the lead foot bobbing and weaving out of traffic and speeding down side streets. A car in front of us stopped prematurely on a side street and our speed racer agishi hit the breaks so hard, we skid for a few meters and the whole cab smelled like a burnt tire. He then rolled down the window as the driver in the car in front of us hopped out and proceeded to call him every obscenity in the book. All I could make out was f$%k...I'll f#%$*n kill you, you idiot. The other driver kicked the car, the agishi yelled some more. Kate and I want to get out of the cab but we were afraid of getting caught up in an all out brawl.  Then the agishi put the car in drive and hit it , full speed until an abrupt stop at  Yongsan station. Kate and I couldnt hand him the 4,000 won fast enough and hopped out the cab. " Kamsamnida!" he said " Thank you for not killing us " I said as I closed the door and head for the escalator.
Sometimes you're not even that lucky and you get a really rude driver who wont even listen to your Korean or even stop as your destination until you literally scream at him. Like I said... a box of chocolates.

Confucius says: When in doubt and your agishi's en route, whine "Agishi odi kiyo?" and do a Korean pout!

1 comment:

  1. There are bound to be some bad apples out there among the taxi drivers out there, but for the record I have yet to have a nasty experience in a cab during my four years here. Perhaps my number is almost up!