Catching a cab in Samoa is an absolute breeze!
Hailing a taxi in New York is a refined skill. I’ve stood curb side of 42nd street, whistling, shouting, and flailing arms. Near moving in to the sea of yellow cars, just to have one stop. New Yorkers will fight over a cab in the city. There’s an art to it, if you don’t have it, you’ll be waiting a while curb side to get a lift.
Samoa is a different story. There are no shortage of cabs; there are more taxis on the road then any other vehicle. They hunt the streets for patrons. Taxi drivers hang out of their car windows, loiter around markets and seem to be stalking around every corner, waiting to roll up unexpectedly.
Yesterday I walked the ocean wall in Apia, enjoying the sound of lapping waves, watching birds fly overhead. Then . . . a taxi screeched to a halt. It had driven over the grassy reserve and up on to the ocean wall walkway. He asked if I wanted a ride. When I politely declined he sat there, blocking the path and pumping rap music so loud, it vibrated the ocean wall and scared all the birds away. Needless to say, I hurried down the path to a quiet spot out of sight.
Step out your front door and I will personally guarantee that a taxi is no more then a meter away. It will take you from A to B in no time and will be a ride you won’t forget. Taxis in Samoa are not your average. The last taxi I was in was more like a blue light disco. Flashing laser lights lit up the dashboard, tinsel decorated the door handles and the review mirror was lost in about 7 pairs of colourful bead necklaces. The driver played techno music that turned heads on the street. It was all a bit of a surprise since the taxi driver looked about 60! The more over done, the more colourful, the more embelished the better! – this has to be Samoa’s motto.
With so many taxis about it’s a wonder how they make a living. Each collection of taxis has a home base. A base is no more then a simple wooden shack where drivers come together to nap, or chat, smoke or drink (yes liquor) – waiting for call outs or passer bys.
To go to Samoa and not catch a taxi is like visiting Thailand and skipping the tut tuts. Catch a cab here and you don’t know what you will get, one thing is for sure, you’ll have no trouble finding one.