Here to Finish & Soak
While incredibly interesting driving around the USA and jumping in various hot springs, getting the work done and finally finishing the final editing on "To Age 13, An Examination of a Childhood," requires I have few to no distractions, thus my reasoning to seclude myself here in San Miguel and write minus excuse. Amazingly to me it has been ten years since I started this project, and in fits and starts I have gotten close to the finish line, determined that by October 19th it will be submission ready save for one last independent review.
The blog this week is a kind of fill in for what will be coming in the next two weeks: a review of former NYC cabbie's poetry volume, "Today in My Taxi" and Craig Leisy's book concerning Seattle taxi and Uber, "Transportation Network Companies and Taxis---The Case of Seattle." I am still reading both books so until then, here is some reporting about San Miguel cabs and all those buses going up and down San Miguel's hills. As someone who once briefly drove city buses I marvel at the drivers here. You have to be incredibly skilled to negotiate these narrow streets. It is not easy.
NYTime October 4th, 2022 article, "Silicon Valley County Battles With Uber Over Reporting Of Sexual Assault," reported by Cade Metz
Has anything truly changed at Uber and how they conduct themselves? It appears not , as Uber, as a matter of policy, DOES NOT report immediately to the local police when a passenger alleges a sexual assault committed by an Uber driver. And this isn't only occurring in Santa Clara County but across the USA. Santa Clara County wants this policy to change, ensuring that every rape and sexual assault allegation concerning an Uber operator is quickly forwarded to the proper authorities but Uber remains resistant, wanting to deal with this kind of horrific crime in private.
My response is is how the hell did Uber get the permission to conduct rape investigations on their own? How could Uber, and local government officials across the USA allow this type of behavior? It's nonsensical and extremely dangerous, essentially telling female passengers that what happens to you is not Uber's priority, their priority instead, at all costs, first and foremost, is the protection of company reputation. Another good question is why these assault victims aren't bypassing Uber to begin with, and filing charges directly with the police. It's a mystery. One would think there would be some urgency after being attacked by your driver.
And does anyone believe that if a passenger was raped in cab, that government response would be, "Hey taxi association, you deal with it, we trust you to fully investigate and prosecute the offender?" If you believe that, you'll believe anything, including that Uber can be trusted with your wife, mother, sister, girlfriend, partner, grandmother or daughter. So much for fantasy! Uber's approach is despicable, a continuation of a reprehensible legacy originating from its earliest minutes, an institutional slap in the face to reason and good sense.
It has now been over two months since I've been in the cab but still I remain in some kind of recovery mode, the damage done by too many accumulative hours driving taxi still active in my poor body. Now I will say that driving all those miles here and there and everywhere across the USA hasn't helped but taxi has been unkind to my aging body. For those who don't know I am 68 years, nine months old, and what I could put up with, 12 hour plus shifts plus too many days in a row is no tenable. Not only do I not want to go through that kind of physical abuse again, my body won't allow it.
Recently during June and July, I would begin to get physically sick after three or four taxi days, taking another three or days more to recover and return. If I do return to driving, it will be abbreviated. How could I look forward to dealing once again with Seattle's stupidly crowded roadways and ignorant drivers? I don't. Driving cab in Seattle has become nightmarish but at least the West Seattle Bridge is now open, so that's a positive, isn't it?
Buses and Cabs and Walking in San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel is a city (and municipality) in constant motion, at least until nightfall, its 60,000 residents, and 175,00 overall in the greater area going up and down the steep narrow streets in buses and taxis and on foot. People are everywhere and San Miguel is one very large human anthill, everyone intent upon their business whatever that might be. Everywhere you will encounter the local buses, purple and white Ayco Magno Mercedes Benz buses maneuvering through impossible streets, with every ride witnessing feats not thought possible but somehow the driver makes its through. It's incredible to watch. And the buses are very affordable, 8 pesos (40 cents American) will take you to every corner of the city.
The green and white taxis, usually the famously deathtrap Nissan Tsuru, are everywhere and used by everyone but maybe to the high price of gasoline, about 23 peso per liter, some of the cabbies are getting a bit surly. To this point I have taken only one cab, that was to the La Gruta Hot Springs spa from the outskirts of San Miguel, about a 5-6 mile drive, and the cabbie was very unhappy to have settled for 200 pesos, having initially asked for 250. Given that the bus ride to La Gruta is only 15 pesos (about 75 cents), paying what is the equivalent of about ten dollars is about all I am willing to pay. A local resident told me the average fare is in and about town is usually 60 pesos, or three dollars.
You will also see many people walking, including me, especially when I am in the Centro or the center of town. Yes the streets are busy and tight with cars and trucks and buses but there is much to see, and what better way is there except to hoof it up and down the hills. One very major drawback to all this vehicular traffic in tight spaces in the pollution, which explains why I am solo this particular visit minus my usual companion, "she-who-can't-be-named," who got me going here in the first place. The exhaust was making her sick. But don't let that stop you from visiting at least once. San Miguel is a wonderful town. And La Gruta, now just over $12.00 for an all day soak, is a wonderful place to be.
Poem: Drowsy Vendor
Nearly asleep behind his piles
of limes and tomatoes and
other fruits and vegetables
I thought a purchase would
awaken him to carrots
and potatoes and one
delicious papaya serving
me breakfast four
sunny mornings in
a San Miguel row.
Ayco Magno. Nissan Tsuru
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