Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ola From Puebla, Mexico: The Bells Are Ringing!

The one very clanging plus one gets from visiting an overtly Roman Catholic country are the cacophony of church bells.  Two lines from Edgar Allen Poe's "The Bells":

                                  Bells, bells, bells----
                                  To the rhyming and chiming of the bells!

Reminds me when I was in Barcelona, Spain in 1991 and my hotel was directly adjacent  to a church.  All those glorious bells!

Yes sitting in my Puebla hotel room I have the bells pleasantly intruding upon my work space.  Outside the sun is bright and warm.

My taxi ride in from the bus station was efficient, my driver once working in a Chicago restaurant kitchen, and now back in Puebla, taking me directly to my hotel.  You should have seen the long curving line of  waiting cabs.  I would for one not be so cheerful.  My tip matched 75 percent of the fare.  Taxi, especially the waiting, can be grueling. And that is what I want to briefly touch upon, on just hard in reality taxi can be and is. As I have said, the money can be and is good but the cost in sweat and blood and tears can be high.

An early Sunday morning incident nearly meant I would now be sitting in Harborview if not a morgue awaiting burial instead of my rustic hotel room.  Having picked up in Chinatown I was crossing 6th and Cherry east-bound when a driver in a Toyota ran the light south-bound on 6th while coming off the freeway at 40-50 miles per hour, aiming directly for my door.  Depending, he might have killed me but as I have been driving a car since I was twelve, I instantly hit the brake and dodged the lethal Toyota, saving me and my four passengers from much misery.  The Toyota did stop about 30 feet past the light but what was there to say?   He made a serious error and I was able to repair it.  I just kept going to my destination, glad we were all safe, including the fool in the Toyota.

This is the reality I face and the reality the two Mexican cabbies I have rode with face daily.   It is a rewarding but dangerous profession.  Would you snobs out there like my two drivers better because they were both wearing ties?  I am sick of the current diminishing and insulting of a great and courageous group of professionals.  It is time to hug not mug your favorite cabbie!  Taxi is a bull fight and the cabbie the brave matador.


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