Sunday, February 15, 2009


I cycle or I get driven. I hardly ever drive a car myself. Nevertheless, I loath using taxis, even more since yesterday.

I arrived late yesterday afternoon at the domestic terminal in Mumbai. At the international terminal you can hire a pre-paid taxi. I like this. You pay a little more than when driven on a meter, however, you know what you pay and what you're likely to get upfront. This is fine with me.

At the domestic terminal there is no such service. I was on my way to the taxicabs, when I was approached by a fellow informing me that the prepaid taxis are at the other end. Although a dozen alarm bells were ringing within the next five minutes, I somehow ended in a mouldy smelling car with two fellows, still not knowing how much this trip was gonna cost.

One of them showed me a tariff card, indicating that it would cost 2100 rupee (about 50$). A pre-paid taxi at the international airport cost between 850 and 1000 rupees. For 2500 rupees you get a leather upholstered sedan with a driver dressed in livery. I knew, I made a big mistake getting in this car, but matters wend from bad to worse pretty quickly.

I handed over 4x500 + 1x100 rupee banknote. The bloke claimed to have received only 1x500 + 4x100. I was immediately reminded to a story a colleague told only a day ago from the same airport about a banknote trick being played on him in a cab. But stupid as I am, I took back the money and handed him again 4x500 + 1x100. This time he claimed to have received 3x500 + 2x100. I grabbed my money and yelled Stop that car! I took me some more shouting to get my luggage out of the trunk. The hideous bloke even claimed that I'm offending his honour. I could not have disagree more, since he had 1600 of my rupees.

It was only a few hundred meters back to the airport, where I grabbed a black and yellow (kaali-peeli) which cost me 515 rupees. This was ridiculously overpriced, but it's what I should have done in the first place...

However, I'm back at the Taj Mahal hotel and it went upwards ever since (although I was given en a room without DVD player). The positive news are:
  1. Word came through, that the management buy out by Toño's boss went through (letter of intent state). So Toño economical future looks brighter than it has been for a while. If you haven't yet, you should subscribe to Vinum magazine right now. You will not only be helping Toño but might learn a lot about wine and its culture in the process.
  2. A hotel butler just knocked on my door and brought me a complimentary dessert.

1 comment:

Expat Traveler said...

ouch! Sorry for your misfortune...