It’s an impressive journey to take a ride on the taxis in Bogotá. On top of the need to stay constantly alert in case you need to jump out of the vehicle any time, before the muggers can get to you, you also need to put up with the constant thrusting that the driver is ever so inclined to impose on you from his perpetual speeding-braking cycles. There is perhaps one comfort from the unpleasant means of transport, that is, the eye-opening experience of seeing the endless possibilities of creative ways to drive.
Once, I was on a taxi. We approached a line of cars that were all waiting at the curve of an interchange junction to get onto another road. Instead of queuing at the end, my driver simply kept going, driving pass all the cars in the queue. Since he did it so legitimately (it appeared), I started wondering why the other cars were so stupid to queue and didn’t take the other lane. Then my driver continued to amaze me when he took the split second of opportunity and exited onto the road before the first car of the queue even managed to do so! Yes, his uncanny superpower confounded me, and saved us 10 minutes. And yes, the interchange curve that exits onto another road was actually a one-lane road!
Taxis display an unusually high sense of aggression (that it’s turned into a social discussion) when they take over. They close up on a vehicle with only a meter’s distance, flash at him, and then overtake him up close. Real up close, just like the car fights in a James Bond thriller.
As your driver fly across lanes and sometimes hovering over two lanes at the same time, you think you’re inside a washing machine.. Other tricks include driving towards on-coming cars on the wrong side of the road, just to cut the queue ahead of you. Then just to make this safari-like jumbo ride worse, the driver is also trying to avoid all the potholes that sometimes make the car go sideways!
So, on a taxi, you really get to learn all the tips to shorten your journey time. Actually most taxi-drivers on the road behave like they were ambulances or other kinds of emergency vehicles (!!!).. But then you feel bad blaming the taxi driver for his haphazard styles when he is enthusiastically finding every opportunity to get to the destination in the shortest time.