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Wednesday, August 23, 2006


A reassuring message on Wikitravel's Abu Dhabi page:

Foreign visitors should be warned ahead of time that some taxi drivers in Abu Dhabi are former members of the Taliban. Those who are will display a swatch of black cloth on their vehicle somewhere.

Note to self: throw away black pashmina that hangs over passenger seat of taxi in case passenger gets the wrong idea...

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Blogger secretdubai said...

Wow. That's very odd.

8/24/2006 01:28:00 am  
Blogger Desert Lady said...

That's just plain scary!!

8/24/2006 11:47:00 am  
Anonymous al buxman said...

Very much within the realm of possibility. The Al Ayn taxiwallahs seem quite benign and docile, even the few Afghans I met...the big beef for most of them was that they carried Pakistani passports, and were more than eager to go back home and get new Afghan passports, now that they were being issued. (Amazing fact: it seems they don't like Pakistanis at all...at least, that's what I gathered from our conversations.)

Al Ain Taxi: are you Kabuli or Pashtoon?

8/24/2006 01:55:00 pm  
Blogger Al Ain Taxi said...

Neither, I guess I'm cockney

8/24/2006 07:30:00 pm  
Blogger Brn said...

I had one really bad experience with a taxi driver a year ago who, when he found out that I'm American, started going on a rant about how the Taliban was great, Americans needed to be killed (complete with throat slashing gestures), etc.

The very next taxi I rode on was also from Afghanistan; when he found out I was American, he spent the whole trip telling me how great George Bush was, how happy he was the US had invaded, etc.

8/25/2006 09:31:00 am  
Blogger Al Ain Taxi said...

Eek Brn, it's very hard to guess what side they'll fall on when you first get in the cab. I always tell em the truth, British, and hope for the best. However, I know some people who say 'Irish' just to be on the safe side.

Sorry to hear about your fire BTW, I wonder when our antiquated ACs are going to burst into flames, the landlord is so tight he won't replace them and they're 10 years old at least

8/25/2006 03:53:00 pm  
Blogger Brn said...

Thanks, I'm doing much better now (have completedly this whole weekend fire-free). About the A/C units, I will say that the first guess of what started the fire of all the firemen was the A/C unit.

I went through a week of saying that I was Canadian after that incident and one other one, but now I just tell them the truth and let them complain about President Bush if they want. Plus I would guess that for really hard-core Taliban believers, it really doesn't matters which Western country you come from.

8/26/2006 12:04:00 am  
Anonymous al buxman said...

Yep, it can get scary, especially if you're American (the country everyone loves to hate--what gives?). More like Brn's second experience, I met one who was telling me about the Indian engineer who was killed in Afghanistan. He basically said: These people are in our country to help us, to make it a better place and help reorganise, repair and rebuild. So they're doing a good thing.

But he was quite specific (and emphatic) that it wasn't the Taliban who were responsible, although everyone thought they were, but rather a bunch of hoodlums, who were doing it just for the money.

There's this other Pakistani guy whose sharing cab I sometimes travel to Dubai in (sorry I don't know his name), the guy's face lights up when sees me, breaks into a huge grin and calls me "brother".

I'm Indian, deep south, if haven't already guessed.

8/27/2006 03:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Desert Dweller said...

Yes, I've heard the story of the black cloth too, quite a while back. I wonder if it's one of those urban legends.

8/28/2006 08:27:00 pm  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

I left the UAE in '98 and the worst experience I had was a taxi driver who found out I was in my mid-late 20s and did not have a wife.

He qot quite "frisky" with me. Needless to say, I reached my destination much sooner than i had originally planned and caught another cab.

I never recall getting the guff on account of my nationality. Most of the time the response was "ooohhh America strong". Usually I would turn the subject around to Pakistani politics then I would usually hear "Benazhir donkey"!

10/12/2006 03:48:00 am  

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