travel gist

It was my first time into the country. I had not a slightest idea what I was heading into. But I’d learnt from experience, of how there’s practically no difference in the way we all reason.

Most often when I travel, there’s one general expression my documents force out of “those people”. I’m talking about that simple expression you get on the faces of immigration officers. As though, you were only welcomed because they are obliged. In my own encyclopaedia of trends, they remain the only people with whom the simple theory, “dress as you wish to be addressed” remains defeated.

Buna ati venit priete nu-meu

Che fachet?
Bine! Tu?
Unde mergem?
Right! Can you speak English please? I’ve spoken all the one I know already
Ah! Nu problema. Are you from “Anglia”
No, I’m from Wales

Unde wales?
What?! I exclaimed although unable to attach the prefix – you don’t know Wales??

Wales! Unde?? He insisted
UK. I replied evidently disgruntled.

UK? That is Anglia right? 
Unable to withstand any more of the frustrating wordless exchange of familiar but meaningless expressions, I said yes!

So my friend, is this your first time in Bucharest?
Yes, I thought to answer. But I knew a very popular trick was about to be played on me. So quickly, I started to trouble my phone for wireless signal.

O!! Come you silly thing.  I need google map now than ever before jor!

Unfortunately, speed didn’t come to aid as seconds chose to crawl and I was left frustrated too quickly. I sensed he looked at me just now even though my head was buried in my 7 inch screen so I replied before he finds out what I was up to with the phone.

No! No! I was here earlier.

Da?(more like saying, yea?) Did you like it? Believing but amazed how much words of his language I had managed to pull out of my arsenal.
O yes! It was lovely. And then I kept shut. Hoping he doesn’t dig deeper.  More so I was running out on vocabulary. Ashiri must not tuu finally.

Strada cretei has refused to load on google even until now ooo. Ha! This man ma gba miiiii!!! (more like saying – he surely has duped me)

Funny thing is, the popular trick is very easy to tackle o. But I totally forgot the rules. I jumped in too quickly. Now I’m at his mercy. If this man doesn’t take me on a proper merry go round ehn? I am more than lucky.

Approaching the traffic light just half a yard ahead, he took his feet off the gas. I shook my head and pitied myself. I wished I could say it in his language but I couldn’t so I muttered it in my dialect shaping my mouth and face into different ugly patterns. Haaaa… Green yi ma di amberrrr!!! And gradually we came to a halt. The red light had just come on. What can I do, but to admire a city with gracious sights by force…

Hmmm I continued to think… This man knows what he is doing. Kai!! There’s no difference between “this” and using a black cab in Cardiff. The bloody metre keeps reading! 

Maintaining eye contact via the rear mirror, he started a conversation. 

My friend, do you know, 10 years ago. Romania was different. People couldn’t even afford to be idle. So they’ll work for nothing than get sent to prisons. Our government was a group of tyrants not leaders
But today. There’s so much freedom. We even have beggars. Look at them. See!

Yeapa!! The idiot speaks English sha. Haaa!!! O ti gba mi nicely meeen. But I couldn’t care less about his gist. What concerned me the most for as long as I was  in his taxi was he taking me through the shortest route.   

O! You speak good English. Thank goodness I muttered wittingly devising a way to change the topic of discussion without tampering with his ability to remain favourable.
Please ehn, don’t stop at the next traffic light you hear. I don’t have more than 5 euro.

Haha. My friend. You can use your credit card. This is airport taxi. We don’t worry about you not having cash.

Shoot!! This guy is mad sha!! So he’s even planning to milk me proper sef. Ha! Mo ti wor gau!!

Look here Mr. Don’t make me regret jumping into your taxi. I don’t have card. Cash! Only cash!!

Nu problema, I shall take you to strade cretei he replied wigwagging his right hand as if to say calm down. (You bloody moron shall surely be milked)

By this time though, it was just one straight mile away from my destination. But he had made a left turn already. And seeing I didn’t realise that was a foul. The mad thing just kept on enjoying the argument.

Don’t worry. Don’t worry. Almost there he said pretending to be calming my nerves. 

About 2 minutes later, we popped out on my street and then I realised the straight road was just behind me.

6.80 euro.  small money my friend. Small!

Reluctantly I paid. Got my luggage off his boot and as he zoomed off. The bloody page had just finished loading. I looked round. Compared the entry point to my position and just then I realised he had taken me on a nice zig zag around the neighbourhood.  Luckily, he reaped me off only 2.80 euros.
I stood there laughing myself to bits before pressing the bell. I laughed so hard I grabbed my head and said aloud; waray ni man ye’n sha.  (meaning –  pure mad man.)

As it stood, I had just learnt my first of many lessons in a strange man’s land. Taxi drivers are all the same; any and everywhere under the sun.