Thursday, 2 September 2010

A tale of 2 taxis

Little green shared taxis are the main means of getting about (other than walking) for those without their own transport. The cars are not usually in good repair, and show the signs of negotiating their way around Bobo's roads and potholes. Because they are shared, the route is often not direct (interesting for those trying to get the hang of the place). Bobo is quite big. People may think Africa=village, but it is very far from so - although within the town there are plenty of bits with a villagey feel.

Anyway, 2 recent taxi experiences.

Stopped a taxi to get into town from work one evening. Taxi driver a bit older than usual and, as quickly became clear, deaf; also seemingly unable to understand or speak any French (most taxi drivers have some French, although deciphering what I say and working out where I want to go can become a team effort, involving everyone in the taxi and sometimes passers-by as well ...). Anticipating the problems this might cause, he was accompanied by what I take was a grandson (taking up lucrative passenger space), to translate what passengers said and relay it, by shouting in Dioula. Next problem - neither grandad nor boy knew their way around Bobo much! Fortunately on this occasion (tho' not always the case) I knew where I was going and how to get there - so I gave instructions - turn left, straight on, etc - in French to the boy, who then transmitted them to grandad - anyway, between us, we got there. I'm glad I didn't happen upon that taxi when on a more adventurous sortie.

The day after, I hailed a taxi to get back home from a youth centre in a residential neighbourhood. An empty taxi picked me up, drove part of the way, and then the taximan explained that we needed to stop while he dealt with the (live) chicken which he apparently had in the boot and planned to grill that evening. Oh well, I thought, this may take a while but I am not in a hurry. So we pulled up at the chicken-processing stall and in an amazingly short space of time his chicken was killed, feathers removed by a process I could not quite see, head and feet cut off and I assume also gutted, or drawn, or whatever it is you do to chickens. The process involved plunging the chicken into a drum of hot something... (I shall probably get to understand the process better as the chicken market is relocating near where I work). Then back into the taxi and off we went again. He complained about the high cost of this process - 75cfa, which is between 9p and 10p. He had bought the chicken for about £1 and was pleased with that - and was looking forward to his supper, which he assured me would be delicious. He was probably right; the chickens here are tasty, although with much less meat on them than at home - a European appetite can easily manage a whole chicken.

Take a taxi and see life, eh?

1 comment:

  1. i love this... such a typical tale of the life we lead here :) loved it! thanks for sharing....

    By the way... they dip the chicken in boiling water, this loosens the feathers and they can pluck them quickly that way. I recently witnessed the same thing ;)