Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vesnicele plaiuri ale vanatorii pentru taxiuri/ Senegal, where taxis come after dying

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Daca ati citit din operele lui Karl May sau cunoasteti cat de cat din cultura indienilor americani, stiti ca vesnicele plaiuri ale vanatorii sunt un fel de rai unde indienii credeau ca vor ajunge dupa moarte si vor petrece tot timpul pe campii vanand bizoni si caprioare.
Ei, cam asta se intampla cu taxiurile cand se pregatesc sa isi dea ultima scanteie din bujii...ajung pe strazile din Senegal unde isi petrec eternitatea vanand clienti. Si cand zic eternitate nu exagerez foarte mult. Majoritatea masinilor par sa fie din anii 70-80, fara bord/lumini/incuietori/orice functionale.

Taxiurile senegaleze au un aspect uniform, vopsite in galben cu aripile negre. Flota de taxiuri se compune in general din:
- Renault 21
- Peugeot 309
- Citroen BX
- Toyota Corolla
- nelipsita Dacia Logan, uneori sub marca Renault

Toate masinile arata de parca ar fi fost facute in anii 70, insa de mana, cu pila si ciocanul, nu in fabrica pe linia de asamblare. Zici ca au fost facute de baiatul asta. Au tabla ondulata, batuta, indoita, parbrizul spart(fara exceptie!), farurile nefunctionale, bordul complet nefunctional (am vazut kilometraj/turometru mergand la mai putin de jumatate din taxiuri), oglinzi sparte si lipsa, manere rupte, amortizoare care nu amortizeaza, tapiteria mancata de ( zice lei si hiene, la cum arata, dar doar de) molii si de timp, arcuri lasate la scaune si tot ce va puteti inchipui mai rau la o masina. Bag mana in foc ca niciun taxi senegalez nu ar trece ITP-ul intr-o tara mai organizata.
Starea masinilor se datoreaza (cel putin in Ziguinchor) si drumurilor, care au mai multe cratere decat asfalt.

Si totusi functioneaza. Soferii le spala regulat, probabil le repara des, pe metoda "Dacia"- cu sarma, si ies cu ele la vanatoare de clienti. Pentru exact asta fac, te vaneaza. Toate taxiurile care trec pe langa tine dau flashuri, claxoane si te striga sau te "psss"-ie din mers. Acum inteleg cum se simt fetele agasate de soferi. Este absolut exasperant sa fii strigat si claxonat de absolut fiecare masina galbena care trece pe langa tine.

Daca decizi sa iti iei viata in maini si sa te urgi intr-un taxi senegalez, in mod normal nu platesti mult. Nu exista aparat de taxat, dar exista reguli. Cum ar fi: daca esti alb, iti cer din start dublu, daca ai noroc. Daca nu, triplu :)) In Ziguinchor orice cursa este 500 F, tarif fix (cam 3.5 lei). In Dakar pretul se negociaza la pornire, cam intre 500 si 2500 F. Este recomandat sa afli din timp cam care este tariful normal pentru distanta pe care vrei sa o parcurgi, pentru ca intotdeauna ti se va cere mult mai mult la inceput, si trebuie sa negociezi mai tare decat in bazar in Istanbul ca sa ajungi la un tarif decent.
(poze mai jos)
If you've read some of Karl May's works, or are a bit familiar with the Native American culture, you know that the Happy Hunting Ground is a sort of heaven where american Indians thought they would end up after death and they will spend their time hunting deer and buffalo.
Well, this is exactly what happens when taxis prepare for their final spark-ignition...they end up on the streets of Senegal where they spent their eternity hunting for clients. And I do not exaggerate with "eternity". Most of the cars look like they were manufactured 40-50 years ago, without working lights/windows/locks/anything.

Senegalese taxis all look alike: yellow with black fenders. The most frequent are
- Renault 21
- Peugeot 309
- Citroen BX
- Toyota Corolla
- the ever-present Dacia Logan, sometimes under the Renault brand

All cars look like they were build in the 70's, not on the assembly line, but rather manually, with a hammer and file. They probably were inspired by this guy. The sides are wobbly, dented and beated, the windshield cracked (no exceptions), the dashboard dead (I've seen woring km counters on less than half of the taxis), broken or missing mirrors (who needs to look behind, right?), broken handles, dampeners that don't dampen, upholstery eaten by (by the looks of it, lions and hyenas, but only by) moths and the passage of time, un-springy car springs and everything you would expect ffrom a car you would consider dead and unusable. I would guarantee that no Senegalese taxi could pass a technical inspection in another - more organised - country.
The state of the roads is also a contributing factor for the damage to the cars - in some regions, a tank would me more useful than a yellow sedan.

And still they work. The drivers wash them regularly (that can help only so much), they probably repair them often, using the "Dacia" method -with a bit of wire, and go out hunting for lients. Because that's exactly what they do, they hunt you down. All taxis taht pass by you will flash you, honk you, shout out to you or, the most effective one, will "psst" you. Now I understand how girls feel when they are harassed by drivers. It is absolutely annoying to be honked by every yellow car that passes by.

If you decide to take your life in your own hands and get in a local taxi, normally you will not pay much. There are no meters, but there are rules. And the first rule is: if you're a foreigner, you get asked for double the normal fair, if you;re lucky. If not, triple :)). In Ziguinchor there's a fixed fee of 500F/trip (roughly 70c). In Dakar, you have to negotiate the price, ideally before you get in. It's somewhere between 500 and 2500 F. I recommend you ask some locals how much the taxi should cost for the trip you intend to take, because they will always ask for more and you need to negotiate harder that in the Istanbul bazaar to get to a decent tariff

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