Skip to content
15 July 2011 / leggypeggy

Stop this taxi we want to get off!

I never in a million years thought a taxi would give me the scariest ride of my life.

• I thought the truck would tip over in Africa until Chris, our driver, said the truck weighed 17 tonnes and I was standing on 14 of those tonnes.
• I thought I’d fall off the camel in Timbuktu because my saddle was split in two.
• I thought the car might slide over a cliff in icy weather in the Rocky Mountains.
• My mother thought I was history if I rode on a motorcycle.

And then I got in a taxi at the Turkish border and I thought I’d die.

There were six of us—plus the driver—in a car built for five. If only we’d known. Blithely we said, ‘Vanessa, you’re small, so you can sit in front on Karl’s lap.’ The rest of us—being Lu, Gary, Poor John and me—piled in the back. ‘Is everyone comfy?’ ‘Yeah. yeah!’

Vanessa snaps a pic of Karl, who has survived to celebrate another birthday. He has forgiven us for buying him a pink belly dancing wrap to mark the occasion.

And then the taxi screamed out of the carpark. In no time he was travelling at 140kph, then 160 and finally 180 (he even edged to 185 a couple of times). The posted speed limit varied between 50 and 70 kph. He slowed down to 140 for curves. He zigzagged from lane to lane, passing everyone. Vanessa smiled weakly, clung to Karl and tried not to face forward. I’m sure her fingernails were digging into his back. Lu slumped to the floor, thinking the back of the driver’s seat might provide some cushion in an accident.

In fact, nothing would have saved us in an accident at 180kph. We laughed about the trip at the time, but that was only because we were too terrified to do anything else. It was a sort of gasping, choked and teeth-gritted laugh that is oh, so insincere.

We’re not sure about the distance we covered, but it was something like 16–20 kilometres in eight minutes. Two truck haulers passed us while we were still waiting at the border—at least 40 minutes before we got in the speeding taxi. Imagine how surprised we were to pass them while we were in the taxi on the way to the bus station.

The others had gone ahead in the three taxis available—and we last six had waited for a taxi to return. As we started to tell our fellow travellers of our harrowing taxi ride, it turned out that they had similar stories. It seems all three taxis raced to the bus station to see who could be first, so they could come back for the rest of us.

The aftermath: When we arrived, Lu poured herself out of the taxi and kissed the ground. I dyed my hair to cover all the new grey. Vanessa is thinking about putting on weight so she’s never again the small one stuck in the front seat.

Footnote: The bus to Istanbul was deluxe, comfy, air-conditioned and sedate. They even served coffee, juice and snacks.


Leave a Comment
  1. Sy S. / Jul 15 2011 7:27 am


    It was just as SCARY to read about your wacko taxi ride to the bus station! I guess the worst experience I had with riding buses was in Japan in 1967. We were on a bus going to the base station to Mt. Fuji, a narrow two lane road and cliffs on the side of the mountain… and buses passing each other!


  2. Jim Clark / Jul 16 2011 5:34 pm

    Fear is a state of mind. My first experience with kph calibrated vehicles was in a taxi in Nakhom Phanom (many years ago). When I saw the speed of the taxi was 80 on a bumpy dirt road populated by various animals and human powered vehicles, I was a bit nervous. However later, when I understood kph, my fear was no more. However 180 KPH is a bit fast – the Turkish driver must have lived in Germany at some point in his driving life.



    • leggypeggy / Jul 16 2011 5:51 pm

      I had a lot of frightening taxi rides in Egypt in the 1970s, but the other most hair-raising one was in Hong Kong in 1985. I was going to the airport to pick up my mother, and was quite sure I’d never see her again.


  3. Brian Lageose / May 1 2016 2:58 pm

    Love: “I dyed my hair to cover all the new grey.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. payel / Jul 19 2016 7:48 am

    We had similar experiences when traveled from Oludeniz (Turkey) to Pamukkale in a taxi.But when we reached there it was different experience,never seen anything like that ‘Antique Roman Pool’.Pool is so gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 19 2016 1:16 pm

      Oh yes, Pamukkale is an amazing place to visit. So I guess the taxi ride was worth it in a way. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: