In my two years in Honduras, I’ve had many-a-interesting, or more so, hysterical and bizarre, conversations with taxi drivers. I’ve a regular taxi driver called Eduardo who usually tells me about his family life which I quite enjoy, because he’s quite intrigued about mine. He also knows more about English football than I do and will often remind how poorly all the teams are playing in Birmingham. With all the traffic issues with the trams being laid around the city (one which will run past Plaza Miraflores), it’s quite nice to have a chatty taxi driver. Others I’ve had have told me of medication I should buy for twisted ligaments, another asked me to see if someone back home could send him a Leeds shirt as one of his favourite players at the time (Ramon Núñez), one who quite aggressively accused Americans of treating Hondurans like dirt as though it was my fault (when I told him I was not from American, he didn’t so much as apologise, but more so perked up a ten-fold and told me how much he liked Wayne Rooney), and another one who once told me where I could find good women for a cheap price (he didn’t seem to accept the fact that when I said I had a girlfriend, I meant NO). All taxi drivers, like anywhere in the world, are the insidious cheats of the road. Yes, they can scam you, especially if you’re a tourist. But more to the point, they know how to skip huge lines of traffic, sometimes by driving massive lengths on the wrong side of the road, ducking and diving out of gaps of traffic on his own side of the road to dodge on-coming traffic, and then push in somehow at the front, without being punched by some irritant people waiting in the queues. They often have cracked windscreens like below, which make you wonder how drivers can drive without crashing, while dealing out change and working out routes. Who said that men can’t multitask?
I’ve also heard horror stories in taxis, especially collectivos, but enough of that for now, because below I am going to copy a transcript of the conversation I had with a proud Honduran, still on a high from Honduras reaching the world cup. Here it goes.
Me: How far do you think Honduras will get in the world cup?
Taxi driver: Nowhere. Especially if Germany, Brazil or Spain are in our group.
Me: And what about England?
Taxi driver: Nah, we can beat them.
Taxi driver: Yeah. Why? Where are you from?
Taxi driver: We will beat you.
Cue second silence.
Me: Say goodbye to your *propina. (*tip)
While half mocking these men, I would also like to salute them. Many have to pay extortionate amounts of impuesto de guerra money to the gangs. So, even though they may sometimes risk your life, sometimes they may even rob you or charge YOU extortionate fares, I would like to dedicate this post to the humorous taxi drivers of Tegucigalpa. I’m making the 29th October “Taxi Driver Day”, a new national holiday, in Honduras.