Monday, December 2, 2013

Hannibal, Sydney airport to Manly, 110 dollar

Hannibal and I have been talking for a while in the taxi and he tells me about his karate and thai boxing career.

"You know Dolph Lundgren?"
"Yes, of course"
" Well, we were in the same tournament here in Australia many years ago. He was supposed to fight me but he lost his competition and went home. I won that tournament. "
"Haha, so you are better than Dolph Lundgren!"
" You know, karate is a full contact sport and you can get many bad injuries during a tournament but you have to keep fighting. But you can get too many and that is what happened to Dolph. I did talk to him several times during the years. He is a nice bloke."
"That is pretty cool. You can put that on you CV. 'I almost fought Dolph Lundgren'".
"Haha, almost yes."
"And when did you quit practising?"
" I did not quit. I still practice every morning one hour. I also train people I have my own studio and my own variant of Karate. I do that twice a week. That is my third job..."
"And what do you do when you do not drive the taxi?"
" I build cabinets. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets. I have my workshop, I like working for myself. I do not like anyone to tell me what to do. The taxi driving I only do during the weekends but I like it and it enables me to take it easy during the week. I like to have a comfortable life and not too stressful. I like to travel. I travel every third or fourth month for 3-6 weeks."
"That sounds clever. And do you have a family?"
"Yes. I have a wife. But she is in Thailand now. She has her own business their in landscaping. And we have an apartment there so she takes care of the business."
"Yes, I have four boys. One with my wife and three with my ex wife. My ex wife is Italian. She was too loud. My Thai wife is much better"
"Four boys, three jobs, two wives. You have a busy life!"
"Haha, yes, a busy life. But I love it. I love my life"
"And do you take your wife travelling when you go?"
"Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. When I go to Poland she does not go with my. I have a property there that I renovate and then I normally go by myself".

We stop and the bill is a staggering 110 dollars.

"Hmm, I have never seen it above 100 dollars before".
"Well you see it is the weekend, the airport tax etc etc that is why"
"Ok, thank you and have a good night!"
"All the best, bye"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tony, Manly to Sydney Airport, 95 dollars

The alarm went off at 4.30 this morning. A little bit earlier then I normally go up. At 4.55 the taxi driver was waiting outside as the sun was rising.

"Good morning! "
As I was opening the passenger door the driver had to remove his stuff. Not too many people go in the front, but I always do that. We start chatting and after a while he asks

"What is that accent of yours?"
"Aha - I have been to Sweden"
"Have you, when was that? "
"That was in year 2000. I toured Scandinavia and Russia. "
"Where abouts in Sweden? "
And he starts telling me about his trip that started in Berlin and went into Denmark, Norway, Sweden and then into Russia.

"18 months later I returned to Russia. There were places I wanted to see. I asked one of my drivers that was Russian if he could find me a minder. Straight away he said
- My brother. You will have no problems with him!
So I went to Russia and travelled with his brother. In Russia at that time there was control points at every 50 ticks. The minder told me that we only had to stop at the first control, and then there would be no more stops. So we are getting closer to the first control with a lot of guards and they stop us and ask for our papers. They get our papers and look at them. Then they start screaming and out comes the police along with other guards! They all start arguing and look at the papers. Then we get the papers back and they all salute us. It turns out that my minder used to be a KGB general! We get back in the car and start driving. When we approach the next control nobody stops us, everybody stands in  a row and salute us as we are going pass. I had a great time with my minder and felt very safe. We had no problems getting rooms even if hotels were full either. Great trip. "

Tony stops at the aiport and we wish each other a great day. I again feel excited over these amazing people with their amazing stories I keep meeting in a taxi. And I am reminded of a quote from one of my friends who is constantly travelling: "The joy in travelling is the people you meet"