Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cancun Taxis- Blaring Banda and Spanish 101

Ok, you must hit play and listen to the song while reading this post. Well, I guess you don't have to, take it more as a suggestion I guess.

Six days a week at 6:25 am I walk out the door to catch a taxi to get to work. Rubbing sleep from my eyes, relishing a cigarette, I stand by the road with my arm thrust out hoping for an empty, quiet taxi. Hoping and hoping but always disappointed. Often there will be another passenger in the taxi already so we share, the taxista gets double fare and I add a few minutes onto my trip and endure the overpowering, freshly applied layers of aftershave or perfume that always seem to accompany my morning ride shares. Sharing isn't too bad, unless the other passenger is trying to chat with the driver over the blaring radio. And the radio is ALWAYS blaring, without fail. Usually with the song you are listening to now or some other banda or mariachi song. Other times it's a talk radio station with imperfect reception, cranked up so loud it is unclear if they are speaking Spanish or Venusian. 6:30 am is way too early for either of these aural assaults, but ni modo. I long for the days of Toronto's taxi law that states "You are entitled to a quiet ride". I'd love to see the faces of the taxi syndicate if I ever demanded that particular right. I think there would be a lot of thigh slapping and pointing at the silly white girl. Anywho, I always arrive safe and sound in the seemingly magical hands of the Cancun taxista. They have an uncanny ability to find the smallest possible openings in traffic and speed through them as if they are invincible. I've had a lot of white knuckle, bruised ear drum mornings, too many to count.

While I might not like my banda blaring the morning, I do rather like the taxistas. I like to say that "hablo espaƱol de taxistas" because a lot of the Spanish I have learned was gleaned in the cabbie classroom. I've learned about the history and geography of Mexico, how to cook carne asada, a few words and phrases in Mayan and have received a lot of advice on how to please a Mexican man. I've heard tales of woe that should be country songs (I lost my wife, my truck and my dog kind of stuff). I've had discussions about love, homosexuality, the price of tortillas, pinches turistas, and Britney Spears. Many a morning has been spent trying to explain to the driver why George Bush is such an ass, they just don't seem to understand the man (who does really?). Discussions of the weather are a staple, as are "Oh, I have friend/cousin/uncle who lives in Canada, what should I do to move there? Why do you live here when you could live there? Are you insane guera?" I think my favourite exercise is trying to explain what cold weather is really like and to try to force them to understand that while snow looks fun in the movies, it is really a completely miserable and disgusting thing to live through.

I love my Taxi University, it's more than just a mode of transportation, it's an adventure. If we buy a car as planned, I will miss my taxi chats. One thing is certain though, I won't miss the sunrise banda music.


Anonymous said...

Great post!! Got the memories rolling!

I got a lot of..."Oh, you're from Boston! My cousin/uncle/friend lives in Carolina del Norte. His name is Arturo. Do you know him?"

But tha damn banda isn't limited to taxistas at 6 in the morning....I got picked up on more than one occasion by my lovely neighbor from Tampico blaring banda!

Jennifer said...

Gotta love the Banda, LOL. I think its funny how people will say - my so and so lives in xyz (somewhere in the us - doesnt have to be close to where I live) and ask if they know them. But sometimes I am guilty of the same thing, LOL. In a city right next to where I live there is a big hispanic community, and I have on occasion asked my husband (and my ex when we were together) if they knew so and so. And my husband would say no, and I would say how can you live in the same city/area and not know them? And he finally said to me, it isnt up to him to know all the spanish people in the US, and it made me realize how stupid the question sounded, LOL. But when I asked him, I guess I was thinking that since I had run across this person, he must have too at some point.

CancunCanuck said...

Melissa, my friend's cousin's wife's best friend Michelle lives in the United States, do you know her? Yep, people are funny that way. And yes oh my goodness, give me banda at night with a nice shot of tequila with sangrita and I am there, but NOT at 6 am! (I would have killed your neighbours).

Jennifer, you mean your husband doesn't know all the Hondurans outside of Honduras? Shocking! :)

Jorge said...

Good example... I love this girl, the best wife I could ever get.

Love you Kel.

Anonymous said... was our dear Octavio...not only my neighbor but my ride to work. A secret banada freak.

CancunCanuck said...

Oh dear, not Octavio! I just can't picture him grooving on the banda. :)

CancunCanuck said...

Jorge, love you too mi amor. :)

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