Last night I had the experience of a lifetime as far as taxi drivers go. I stepped into a taxi during rush hour. The driver thrusts off, throwing me back into my seat. “Where you go?” I said, “Please turn on the meter.” He smiles, “Okay Boss.” I say, “Such and such Hotel.” Then the shock of all shocks, he’s got a miniature T.V. on his dashboard. He’s watching a Kung Fu movie while driving! Bad enough to be driving in what we call normal traffic, but during rush hour. Insane!
I tried to reason with the guy, but all he would do was refer to how great the fight scenes were. I finally got so irritated that I rose my voice, “What you do with your own life is one thing, but you’re not going to play with mine!” Whether he understood, or it was the tone of my voice we’ll never know. He turned off the T.V.
The next morning I had to go to Kuta to pick up a few things. I hailed another taxi and realized I could have walked faster than the snail’s pace we were moving along at, but the outside heat and the weight of my head (tough night) kept me riding. How this guy ever got a license I’ll never know. Maybe in a Coco Crunch box? What a way to start the day!
When we finally reached my destination I forgot I only had a large note in my pocket. The meter charge was only a fraction of that. Surprisingly he had the change which he gave back minus a few notes. I said, “You owe me more.” He smiles in that way and says “No this for me.” “What the hell do you mean? If I want to give you a tip that’s my business!” “No this for me”, this time with a threatening look. I gave him back the same look and insisted on my money. He then threatened to call the police, which I was more than happy with. He slammed one of the missing bills into my hand and then started shouting and pushing me out of the taxi. To say the least, I couldn’t believe this guy. I caught myself and thought, is this worth it? I was going to give him a tip anyway.
I slammed the door and didn’t look back, although you could hear his horn blasting away. So now that I have caught your attention here are some tips from various trippers about this planet. If you happen to be bopping around Singapore you’re not expected to tip, but it’s graciously accepted. Off to Brazil? No Money no honey. Absolutely not! A definite no-no. What are you doing in England? Pip pip and all that sort of rot. Of course my good man, it would show poor form not to. Yes, tipping surely. Bangkok, ahh man’s country. Not only is tipping permitted but everything that goes along with it as well. You can bet your bottom dollar on that one. How’d you get through Germany? If you don’t tip they’ll ask you for your papers. New Zealand. ‘God’s country’. They make enough off the metre. So much for that. France, ahh gay Paris. Ooh, la la. If you don’t tip you might get your money thrown back in your face. Sahib you’re in India, if you’re not in the Groovy Guru it’s not only expected, it’s prayed for. When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s Italy, just like the pizza anything goes. A knife and a fork, a bottle and a cork, that’s the way you spell New York. You’d better believe it if you don’t tip any less than ten percent you’re guaranteed for insults aplenty, which can lead to who knows what. Now that you’ve been on a need to know basis, many a happy tipping day.
Chow Mein, Salvador Bali