Taxi’s in Korea are Bizarre!

8 Aug

It is rather ironic that the day I begin to write this happens to be the one day I don’t actually get a taxi to work as they are on strike. Why they are on strike, I don’t know, but to be honest a lot of things that these taxis do makes little sense to me…

For example in about 90% of the taxi’s I’ve been in, seatbelts don’t exist, in the rest they are almost frowned upon.One taxi in particular refused to drive me unless I stopped attempting to put my seatbelt on! This particular crazed taxi driver took it to such an extent that that he pulled over, got out, took the seatbelt from my grasp and preceded to tut and shake his head. Maybe he was offended? Maybe he is a very experienced, incredibly safe and efficient driver with every interest in keeping his passengers safe without the discomfort of a belt pulling at your waist. HA!  No, no, no, no, no; This was to test my steel! You whimpish yongooks (english foreigner) with your poncy seatbelts and your untangled electricity cables is probably a closer estimation of his reasoning. Maybe health and safety is just another eccentricity we English possess? As with most things in Korea, it has to be done FAST. A taxi ride is like being in an unofficial race that your always losing.

Also, is it my naivety? You see, I presumed traffic lights had the same meaning everywhere in the world? In Korea however, particularly for taxi drivers; green is go very fast, amber is go even faster and red is slow down, take a quick glance and if the chances of being hit are relatively low instantly speed up again. I can only assume this is again down to the pace of life  in Korea. Interestingly, I have never seen any taxi or car being pulled over by the police for doing this, they just seem to accept it

A typical taxi ride for me consists of getting in, not fastening my seatbelt (if there is one!) for fear of offending, checking whether the driver is using his sat nav as a navigational device or to watch a baseball game, (yes, Korean taxi drivers drive around watching TV via their Sat Nav. I find myself questioning whether or not this is legal but there I go again with my eccentric English ways).  I sit holding onto my seat discreetly but with claw-like vice grip. Sit tight, I say to myself, let’s hope we make it to the destination in one piece. At least on this roller coaster journey the admission fee is incredibly low and like all paid services in Korea you aren’t expected to tip.

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