Taxi Cab Adventures

Foreign Service LifePeru
May 25, 2012

On Thursday Nia and I took our first taxi cab ride (our car won’t get here for 3 more months).  Sounds simple, but as with most things in a 3rd world country, it proves to be far more difficult than it appears on the surface.

The first thing to note is that most cabs don’t have seatbelts and I’ve been told that many people just opt to hold their child in their arms while they ride.  I’m not so keen on that, so I had to call a specific cab company known for nicer vehicles and ask for a car with seatbelts (in Spanish, of course).  I had a whole script written out and it went surprisingly smoothly.  (Note: We are strongly discouraged from taking random cabs off the street, as they are frequent crime locations.  We’re supposed to use cabs off a recommended list from the Embassy and call them to come to our location.)

20 minutes later a car pulls up in front of my house.  The problem: This car is completely unmarked and doesn’t even have a meter in it.  In fact, there is no sign at all that it is a cab other than the fact that the guy says he works for said company.

I panic for a moment, trying to decide if I should get in this unmarked car with Nia.  Seems really sketchy to me.  There were guards on the street corner nearby, so I attempt to ask them if this is normal and since they seem fine with it I decide to take it.  For security precautions though, I asked the guard to write down the license plate number.  He did and then even went so far as to pull out a video camera and record the guy’s face.  Impressive, huh?  I’m pretty sure the cabby was quite irritated with us by this point…

My gamble paid off, we made it safe and sound to our destination with Nia buckled into the back seat.  I was pretty damn proud of myself (remember, it’s all about the small wins here).  I celebrated my accomplishment with lunch at Chili’s and then Nia and I took a nice stroll by the ocean.

I should have known things were going too well.  I go to call up my cab company again for pick-up.  MAJOR COMMUNICATION FAILURE.  For some reason I couldn’t figure out what the woman was asking me and then she’d get frustrated and hang up.  I didn’t know what else to do though, so I called by three more times hoping at some point she’d figure out what I needed.  Wishful thinking on my part.

After several failed attempts to get a cab, I eventually resigned myself to walking the 60 minutes home with my not-so-happy child.  It’s days like these I need to be gentle on myself and stay focused on what I did accomplish instead of what I messed up.  It’s all to easy to get down on yourself, but that makes infinitely harder to get up and try it again the next day.  Gotta just keep reminding myself that it’s baby steps…

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  1. Jen says:

    You should be proud of yourself for making that 60 minute trek with Nia in hand!

  2. Sara Roy says:

    I know you know this, but it will get better (I say that also for myself since I arrive in Manila two months from today and will be going through similar hardships).

  3. yes, my dear- baby. steps. small loss but HUGE win! you were able to go get lunch AND a walk on the beach with your sweetie and you haven’t even been there 2 weeks yet! good for you!

  4. Nomads By Nature says:

    Truly feeling for you on this one. I’m sure you will figure out the system there for getting back just as easily as arriving to where you need/want to go. It is frustrating, more so with a wee one, but I know you will discover something great to make it work. Love that you got out and explored rather than hiding in the house. You are fearless!

  5. Sarah Novak says:

    Honestly, I’m impressed with how adaptive she’s becoming. She cried for awhile and then just resigned herself to a nap. That’s my little trooper…

  6. Sarah Novak says:

    Yes, indeed it does. I had forgotten how tough the beginning was…

  7. Sarah Novak says:

    Awww, thanks for the encouragement Mama Andrews! It’s easy to be hard on myself at times, especially when my other Foreign Service Mommy Peers are so capable.

  8. Sarah Novak says:

    I refuse to hide out – I’ve got to figure it out at some point. I’m taking that view with the language too. Better just to bumble around with words than not try to order anything!

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