Outside my friend's place I saw on oncoming taxi that was available, and I quickly flagged it and as it came to a halt I hopped in. The driver looked happy (probably at a good-looking guy like me who is also a passenger hahaha), and he has a kind and friendly look all in all. My impression of him was positive. However, the very first thing that my eyes was quick to chance on while closing the door after putting my things on the right of the rear seat was a white thing that was wedged in the gap of the door handle as I began to close it, and seeing that it was actually a used tissue (how totally disgusting) I just quickly touched on the side instead. Whew! My impression then fell to the lowest ebb, and as I told the driver about it he shrugged it off, saying this is but the local culture. Then sarcastically I asked if the earlier passenger had used the stinking tissue to wipe his face or actually, somewhere else, and he laughed at the cheeky and suggestive notion. In a matter-of-factly but funny way he revealed that some local people are even worse than those in the mainland. He said every foreign visitor had conveyed to him that this country is a very nice and a very clean place, before I interjected saying that's only because of the hard work of cleaners that are employed by the government. He laughed and said that was precisely what he wanted to tell me. He told me how someone complained about the mainlanders' sense of hygiene and all but he responded saying what about looking at yourself, you're even worse than them.
As we started sharing observations and experiences we agreed that the local people really have no sense of hygiene wherever you turn. He told me there was a passenger once who kept blowing his nose hard in the car (without a covered tissue!), and he just asked him if he could show a bit of consideration as the space is small and as the air-conditioner is also on there is also a chance that he might need a flu pill when he gets home. I laughed at his incredulous expression when he recounted what he said and I told him of an incident where there were some people I was with in an air-conditioned room who, of all things, spat around in it. He shook his head and went on about the different kinds of passengers he encountered. First, the drunk-vomiting types. He couldn't stand those because other than the hellish stench it takes at least an hour of effort to clear the mess. So he began to be more selective with passengers. And he specificially told me to feel the base of the car, which I did, and discovered it is actually coated with a coarse plastic exterior. He said he had specifically requested a change to this because when he got this car new it came with a carpet fitting instead. Imagine cleaning vomit on a carpet... and I told him that it is not only unhygienic but also, unhealthy as carpet itself tends to trap in other forms of dirt easily, and he strongly agreed. Then he told me he was robbed three times in his career, one of whom he actually picked up from a crowded taxi stand despite his trying to take precautions! Yeah, it's unpredictable, these things, I concurred and he proceed to share the kind of strange women who took his ride. There was one type where, instead of paying for the trip, sat next to him and showed him one of her breasts instead and then pestered him for payment! Yes, I said his situation was extremely disadvantageous as she is a woman and more importantly if he happened to touch her for whatever reason she can easily cry "molest!" and he'd be in deep trouble. He agreed heavily on that too, and said he would give her a few dollars for coffee and ask her to leave. He told the same to his colleagues too, when they encountered the same problem. Arguing and refusal is pointless. There were also some more daring types who went on put his hand on their exposed chest before doing so, and he joked that for a few dollars of coffee money that's not too bad. And I offered that if it were in one of those bars he'd definitely have to pay much more and we laughed. There was also one woman, who seemed to be high on drugs or something, and as he revealed she actually stripped herself totally naked from behind!! He saw some skin and sensing something amiss, he stopped at the highway on the side and he got the shock of his life when he saw what happened as he wondered if anyone outside had noticed. So the best course of action he took, was to drive all the way to the police station. After calling the cops one arrived, looked at the woman, and left, followed by another, who came, looked, and left, and then another. Hahaha. He looked at them and wagged his finger, until a female cop came with a towel to cover her up and took her out.
He said she was of a mixed blood. In a man-to-man talk that followed I asked if she was pretty, he answered positively. When I asked about her figure he was even more positive. He said she had lots of hair though, and we agreed it's not a really pretty sight. And I thoughtfully added that even if he were to stop elsewhere and enjoy the opportunity it wouldn't be a good idea, because going by the way it appears to be she could have done such a thing so many times and God knows how many guys have actually done and left her in that mode afterwards. He agreed, and said that that is very possible, and God knows how many kinds of sexually-transmitted diseases she must have had in her all in all. She is the type that nobody wants to play with anymore, and that if she were a virgin, her nipples would have been red, but from what he saw, they were as large as dimes, and very black at that. Boring. Then he said we men are so incorrigible, but I consoled him saying that women are our toys and it is natural that we have to observe and play with them properly. =D
As we reached the destination we chatted some more. We talked about the prices of those public housing projects and how high they've really become unlike in the past couple of decades. They've almost reached untouchable status, we observed. It never seems to drop right, he asked. I answered affirmatively, saying prices fall for only a few nickels before reaching new peaks as they always do. Foreigners are propping the prices up further, and it seems that the value of his house from my estimation is now actually worth 10 times more than it was 20 years ago. He said he's still holding to it as the property market is solid now, but if he sold his house, where should, or where could he put up. I told him well, give it to a foreigner for a good price, and then, take the money and retire to a Third World country. He laughed. And he tells me in one of those do-you-know trivia that he actually visits the mainland every year with his family, the town where his ancestors were and his relatives live. It is a good way to destress from the city he emphasised, saying the pace of life is slower, the food cheaper AND fresher, and it's much more carefree. But the weather is too unbearably hot. I asked if things there have changed, and without hesitation he said of course. The first change was the existence of cabs unlike before and like twenty years ago if he brought a local tin of biscuits of a humble brand (especially by local standards) everyone there would react like they are looking at a piece of gold, but nowadays if he were to do the same they would, as he acts out, give a contemptuous look and fling it aside. They are looking in the direction of the paper imitations of gold and silver in this modern capitalist age, and they would prefer that so they could decide where to go for a bite. From our conversation I was convinced we could be friends, and so I asked for his contact if I needed his services as well. He said he does have regular passengers after midnight and it wouldn't be nice if he couldn't pick me up for so many times, but I said I wouldn't hold it against him if that's the case as I'd just be practically trying my luck, and he agreed. After nothing the details on my cell phone I dialed to confirm if the number was correct, and his cell phone received it. Seeing a foreign face I asked if that picture was his wife, and he said yes. And I said she's really pretty. And he told me he has a daughter too and she's in junior high and from what he described of her subjects and ambitions I could see she's proving very good in her studies, and I told him that. He said he wasn't so sure as he wasn't certain about the education system and so he just listens to what she tells him. But she's a potential, I said, and I suggested that even if I couldn't be his passenger we could still go out for a cup of tea and he said sure, and that he'd call me when there is time. Bidding him farewell I exited the cab and went inside the house (it's good to be back), and took the time to type this account from my laptop before heading for the big, crash.