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Enjoying Similarities and Differences in Culture

Case Example: Taxi Drivers. Some times, when we travel between Tepoztlan and Cuernavaca (a distance of about 11 miles) the taxi drivers will ask us how much we usually pay. Also this has happened when travelling within Tepoztlan, itself. I am always impressed by that. It shows several qualities. First, customer service — as in “what do you think a fair price is?” Second, practicality. We both know you can call in to the dispatcher to get a price quote. We both know that is not necessarily more accurate than asking the customer. And we both know that is more hassle than it is probably worth. Now, I have met some pretty cool taxi drivers, in Columbia, MD. I especially enjoyed hearing their accent, and recognizing it was Ghanian, like one of my favorite Professors at college. That conversation always goes well.

But sometimes I am actually homesick for people to act like jerks. It is part of my ongoing quest for normalcy. So, yesterday, after my political discussion with the guys, in Cuenavaca, I tried to use a cab, dropping folks off at the shopping plaza, where the coffees shop was, to get a ride back to Tepoztlan. The taxi driver quoted a price nearly double what I normally pay. As a new expat, I did to care so much, but as a “seasoned” expat I had adopted the attitude of feeling not just potentially cheated, but insulted. But I also had learned something. Sometimes taxi drivers just don’t want to travel 11 miles. And this is one way of displaying that attitude. Sometimes, leaving from Tepoztlan, taxi drivers who find out we want to go to Cuernavaca, transport us to another taxi driver who is willing to travel the 11 miles.

So, I was actually cool that this one taxi driver quoted me the double price to go to Tepoztlan. I had my fix for bumping into a jerk, once and a while, but I also knew he was just sorta a jerk – he just did not want to make the drive, which is a somewhat expected behavior,, occasionally, which I don’t let get to me.

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