Just another Friday afternoon

Yesterday, we traveled to another part of town to spend the afternoon with friends who live there. It was, in all respects, an average Friday afternoon. Gray. Soggy. Cold–the kind that gnaws your bones, not the kind that bites.

Michael left earlier in the day while I stayed back until the last moment. Some friends, Talia and Valerie, also postponed setting out. We usually take the bus to this part of town–on a good day, it’s an hour and 15 minutes spent reading, listening to the iPod, and fighting car sickness during the half of the trip that is a pothole-filled equivalent of an automated bull ride. Potholes, by the way, are a nice name for it. It’s more of a partially paved mud-road with pits than potholes. On a bad day, this particular bus is–it’s words that should be spelled with asterisks, that’s what. It doesn’t come for an hour. When it does come, there are no seats left. You’re left standing for the next hour-plus (on a bad day, the bus takes closer to two hours than one), probably crammed in between some hapless college student who is about to vomit and a villager who’s brought their ducks or chickens along for the ride. Actually, probably for dinner. But anyway.

All that said, plus the fact that extra construction is underway on this route (pleasepleaseplease I hope the reason is because they’re repairing the 10 miles of potholes) making the bus ride longer than usual,  Talia, Val, and I decided to split a cab.

Cabs, my friends, are a whole other world. We’ve invented tactics for fighting cab drivers over the ever-increasing fares. Currently, our favorite is pretending we speak none of the language, thereby forcing the cabbies to use the meter (as they are legally “required” to) and preventing them from trying to bargain up and down with us. It’s usually a winner and ends in cab drivers muttering frustratedly to themselves, which in my opinion is a much better option than the random screaming outbursts which occur when we tell them we won’t pay more than the meter price. (Insert note: not every cab driver is like this and I actually often enjoy chatting with cab drivers during our trips.) We didn’t win with this option, yesterday, however.

Instead, we ended up with a hapless driver who didn’t know where we were going or how to get there. I felt sorry for the poor man at first, although his reluctance to ask for directions soon brought my reserves of patience to an end. We arrived 45 minutes later than estimated after driving around in the countryside, amidst migrant workers and buildings half-demolished, half-constructed, and clouds of exhaust and… well, you know, that’s just how it goes when you get lost around here.

We arrived 45 minutes later than planned–not that bad, actually–and all was well. There’s no point to all this, I suppose, just a bunch of discombobulated ramblings about a random weekday excursion. So now you know.

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