Published: May 14th 2012May 1st 2012
Something as mundane as taking a taxi in Seoul has turned out to be quite an experience in and of itself. We hail a cab and take a seat. The first thing I notice is the lack of any seatbelts. "Just don't worry about it" Jed tells me. So I shrug and show the man where we want to go. He looks at it and gives us a crazed, toothless smile and off we go. He's honking and weaving around traffic, while speeding ahead. I clutch the seat and think to myself "we should have walked." We come to a red light and I relax a little.
Just as I've relaxed he opens his door, leans far out and spits. Not just a quick spit however, the loudest, most obnoxious spit imagineable. I just glance over at Jed; no words necessary.
Next, I hear: clip...clip...clip.
"He's not...cutting his nails is he?" "Sure is," Jed gives me an uncomfortable smile. The taxi driver has taken his shoe off, and is gouging away at his toe nails! Well, at least he's doing it at a red light...
THEN, the icing on the cake. I hear a television turn on. No, he didn't!
Sure enough, there is a television screen set up right beside the steering wheel, at perfect eye level for him to catch a Korean wrestling match. This is not just for red lights however, as once the light turns green he speeds ahead again, eyes fixed on the screen. He's cheering and smiling in his rearview mirror at us, trying to get us involved in the match. I wished I knew how to say "keep your eyes on the road there buddy, we'll watch the game and fill you in on the highlights!"
Suffice to say, we made it home alive, and a twenty minute ride only cost eight dollars. However, next time, I may just take the subway.