cab fight! cab fight!

I’m in the Gambia, and on Wednesday morning I needed to get from my hotel to my office early in the morning. None of the hotel-based cabs were around, so I walked out to the highway and got in a van. (“Vans” here are the same as matatus in Kenya and guaguas in the Dominican Republic, minivans that cram a bunch of people in and drive on a set route: basically an unsafe, unreliable bus.)  After a while I saw a taxi stand and got down.I walked up to the first taxi driver and asked for a price to my office; he quoted a reasonable price, so I moved to get in passenger seat of the taxi.  Suddenly a man jumps in front of me, blocking the door, shouting about how I can’t ride with this taxi driver because the driver owes this guy money for two weeks of work.

My initial response is that this particular dispute is not my concern, so I go around the protestor and get in the back seat of the taxi.  The driver gets in, and then the protestor leaps into the front seat of the taxi, puts his hand over the key in the ignition, and begins shouting and arguing with the driver in a language I don’t understand.

I decided to wait ten seconds for the situation to resolve. I counted slowly to ten in my head, got out of the taxi, went to another taxi 30 feet away, and got to work.

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