I know a few taxi drivers in Istanbul who would be happy to
come to Ibiza and help with the cab shortage.
in upping the cost for holidaymakers and would drive them to the airport in droves,
take all their money and leave them vowing never to return to the island, thus
pleasing the environmentalists.
I stepped into a whole
Third World of rip-offs the other week when I was accompanied in Turkey by an
English Morris Dancer (you know, those blokes that wear clogs and drink real ale
by the gallon). He was wearing shorts.
It was the shorts
what did it! The heavily moustachioed driver said not a word as my companion hitched
himself into the front seat as though he hadn't noticed the white legs sticking
out like lolly sticks jammed into a King Edward potato.
took us from the Pera Palace Hotel, where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the
Orient Express, to somewhere near the Blue Mosque (we were looking for the World
Famous Pudding Shop) and grunted towards the meter which was showing an incomprehensible
71,000,500 somethings. "That's seventy one million," I deciphered,
"which is about thirty five quid and is nonsense. Offer him a fiver."
The Morris Dancer has not been used to this kind of
negotiation when selling his history (very good it is) of the Saddleworth Annual
Rushcart Festivals, or whatever it's called, which costs £5 and that's it.
You either pay up or you don't get one, lad.
handed over a 10,000,000 note. There. He gave himself away in a moment by not
being positive about it. The driver shook his head. My erstwhile friend handed
him another note. Then another. "Stop," I cried. "He'll
let you carry on till you've nothing left."
got out of the back underneath a conker tree, of all things, and my friend reluctantly
opened his door. "You don't have to run off," I said. "You've
given him enough to feed half of Turkey."
was a bit of an exaggeration, but the man with the large moustache drove away
without a murmur whilst I collected several large conkers.
was telling the taxi driver about this on the way home from the airport, home
safely at this time of turbulence in the skies.
wish I could get hold of one of those meters," he said.
I had wanted to look in at the World Famous Pudding Shop in case there were any
messages for me.
It's the place where hippies met in the
Seventies before heading overland to Khatmandu and left notes for each other as
they too-ed and fro-ed before deciding Formentera would be a better bet.
is where and how they learned about buying and selling and how there comes to
be a successful hippie market on Ibiza to this day.
is sacred, not even the Blue Mosque. There are people making money from tourists
all over the place and all it needed really was for Mohammed to come down and
cast them out.
All I'm saying is that millions of tourists,
many of them Americans, go to Istanbul every year and leave believing that Islam
equals profiteering. At the end of the Holy War, the West will give the East a
great deal of money for reparation.
I'm quite sure some
will find its way to people who would love to use it to buy a taxi in San Antonio.