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Thoughts on Third World Taxis

Calvin Pohl

So I just got back from Puerto Lopez. It was amazing. A little fishing community on the beach, tucked between two huge mountains which slowly sink into the sea. Basically there is one road, that runs parallel to the beach front, and it is only half paved. There are other streets, all dirt and gravel of course, and fortunately I had the opportunity to travel down these dirt roads. Myself, Asher, and my Guide Carlos were in search of a rooster for breeding cock fighters. Anyway, third world roads call for third world taxis. We rode into the hills on a motorized tricycle. This taxi had two wheels in front and one in back, making a basket for two people to sit in, in front of the driver and a small piece of seat to cling onto for dear life behind the driver. And you guessed it, I was the one who got to straggle the seat of the little taxi as we sped through the rough dirt roads of Puerto Lopez. Actually, there was probably enough seat there for me to be comfortable, but the driver told me not to get too close to him, and trust me, that wasn't a problem. I couldn't get very close to him anyway because his odor was sitting between us. Anyway here are my numerated thoughts of that taxi ride.

1. The drivers don't slow down for anything but soccer. I don't know if it was this drivers style or what, but I think our driver thought speed bumps were ramps. We didn't stop for potholes either, nor other vehicles, or turns onto other streets. My white knuckle ride was like a roller coaster without a seat belt. Instead the ride turned into a bunch of swerving and a couple sudden halts. We stopped suddenly when Ecuador scored it first goal on Costa Rica. I cant blame the driver, almost every car in the street swerved to the side with drivers scrambling out of their vehicles to the nearest television. I almost jumped out too. Somehow, the sport I used to think was for girls has become one of my most favorite past times here. I am happy for the people, and I hope that Ecuador continues to win because this country needs something to cheer for more than England, Germany, The US, or Italy ever would need.

2. Pray to God that you don't pull up to another taxi. One of my rides turned into Fast and The Furious on D-cell batteries. Like I said early,no slowing down here.

3. Forget about pointing out something cool. As we were blazing through the city I saw some really cool birds. It was orange and brown and kinda big. It was called an Ornaro, or something like that. Anyway, I pointed it out to our guide unscathed. Feeling a little cocky, like I had just learned to ride the dang thing without any hand I tried to point out a second group of birds. Two little green beautiful birds landed on the road side. I went to point them out has we made a high speed turn. Somehow I managed to catch myself with my left leg and was almost completely standing up on the road when the driver realized that I was no longer sitting behind him.

4. When riding on a third world taxi, you really get to experience the culture of the area. While it may seem that I complained about this whole ride, I sat on the back of the taxi, mouth open, and half laughing the whole time. I felt like I was part of the the culture. I was living like someone in Puerto Lopez for that 10 minute ride. It was great, and I am so glad I decided to go look at Cock fighting prospects. I will miss the little surprises about Ecuador, like this taxi ride, I was never told about during out meetings before the trip began.