Monday, July 16, 2012

Cheng - Circualar Quay to Surry Hills, 28 dollars

" I am from China. "

" Ah. How long have you lived in Australia?"

"15 years"

" Are you from a village or the city? "

" I am from a small village. " And he is telling me the name of the village which I repeat several times in my head. And I forget it approximately 30 seconds later.

" Do you go back and visit?"

" Yes. I was there two years ago. "

" Do you see any changes? "

"Everything has changed.  Now it is so expensive in China. Everything is so expensive. But the quality is better also. "

"And you live here in Sydney with your family? "

"Yes, my wife and my daughter. She is 31 years old.  She studied in university to be a nurse. And she is now working in a hospital. Very good job."

 "Wow. You must be so proud of her! "

A big smile spreads on his face.

"She earns good money. But she is always on hold. There is a big lack of nurses. "

"Oh yeah, I read about that. "

"Work lot of overtime. ... Ok. Holt street."

"Thank you. Have a good day"
"You too. "

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Salim - Circular Quay to Walsons Bay, 9 dollars

"There are many tourists here now isn't there?"
"Not so many. GFC. People from China, Japan. "
"Yeah, but I have seen quite a few tourists in Manly, European has their holidays now."
"Really? Ok. Maybe people from France, England. "
"And a lot of people from the nordic countries, Sweden, Norway, Finland. "
"No no. They do not know about Australia. "
"Oh yes, it is very popular with Swedes. A lot of Swedes move here. "
"No no. Why would they do that? Everything is better in Sweden than here! I come from Pakistan. And from Pakistan and India you can understand why we come here. But not from Sweden. They do not come here. "
" I can promise you, they do. "
Salim looks and me and smile.
" Ok, ok"
We are at my destination, it was a short ride this time.
"9 dollars"
"Thank you. Have a great evening!"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bashir - Sydney International airport to Manly via Frenches Forest, 80 dollars

"Anyone for northern beaches!!!? "
I had been waiting in the taxi line at the airport for 10 minutes. And the taxis became more and more sparse. It looked like they were running out of taxis. Behind me there was a line with about 50 people.
"Northern beaches, going to northern beaches?"
This taxi driver wanted another passenger by some reason. Should I take it? I was number 5 in line, but there were no more free taxis for the moment.
"I can take it!"
I got in to the taxi.
"I will first go to Frenchs Forest to drop you off" the taxi driver said to my passenger.
"What's with the taxis? Why are there no more taxis?"
"You know, it is night time, very busy. All the business people come home from travel. Very busy. We did a general taxi call now to get more taxis to the airport. In the afternoons it is not busy but mornings and nights very busy".
"Where are you from?"
"How long have you been in Australia?"
"16 years. "
"You like it?"
"Yes! I like it. I got four kids. If I would have stayed in Lebanon I would not have had a good life. Not enough money to feed the kids. Here I can have a good life. In Lebanon you are always aware. Anything can happen anytime. "
"It is not safe?"
"I would not say that it is not safe. But you are always aware. You always know that something can happen. At night, all the time. "
We drop off the guy at Frenchs forest and go on to Manly.
" You know. Money is nothing in life. As long as you are healthy you are rich. If you are unhealthy money does not matter, you would rather be healthy than have money. I was reminded of this a while ago. I was driving the taxi like this and all of a sudden I got a sharp sharp pain in my stomach. Like somebody put a knife in my stomach. I managed to stop the car and got into the hospital. It hurt so much! It was stones in the kidney. The doctor said that it is common among taxi drivers. Taxi drivers do not like to drink water because we do not like to go to the toilet. And we drink to little and stone in the kidneys. So now I always got my medecin with me! "
Bashir is holding up a bottle of water with his left hand.

"ok. There you go. Manly. "
"Thank you Bashir, nice talking to you!"
"Thank you, nice talking to you too"