Every time I ride a taxi cab in Korea, the cab driver says crazy things, and today, I decided I needed to just tell you about this taxi cab driver and the things he said because when I told my Korean son in law, he just laughed. The Korean people blame a lot of their traffic woes on taxi cab drivers, and after I tell you about the guy whose taxi I rode in today, you might understand.
I got a call early this morning telling me that my car was finished. I had left my car at the car service because I wanted them to clean it up and make it look good so I could sell it. It had scratches where people had parked too close, places where the car had been keyed, a place where someone had dropped green paint on the hood, etc. I am planning on putting it up for sale, and I know the Koreans and how fastidious they are about beauty. I have taken good care of my car, and it is in completely perfect working order, but you just can’t control what others do to a car sitting in a parking lot, so I took it and let the car service clean it up. They got rid of the scratches and paint spots, and I had to go get it today. I decided to ride a taxi because I am tired of running around in the hot weather on foot.
I walked down to the taxi stand close to my house. There was a taxi sitting there, so I walked up and opened the back door and got in. I am going to tell you about the conversation that took place, and you need to realize that part of what made this conversation funny was that it was all in Korean.
I got in and closed the door and the taxi cab driver said, “What is wrong? Don’t you have a car?” I thought, “Oh, he must not be ready to take anyone. Maybe I need to get out.” I started to get and told him “Excuse me. I thought you were here to take people places.” His response was, “I am! don’t get out!” I didn’t get out. Next, I knew I had to tell him where to go. I remembered the last time I went to the car service, I just told the taxi cab driver,”Go straight,” and it completely confused him and I got a lot of guff about not telling him exactly where I was going until I told him I was going to the Samsung/Renault car service in Gayang, on the same road, but down the road quite a ways. I decided I couldn’t tell this taxi cab driver, “Go straight,” because I didn’t want any more guff about not being specific enough about where I was going, so I said, “Go to Samsung/Renault car service in Gayang.” He said, “Where? Samsung Homeplus?” He got his cell phone and was going to search for it on the internet. I said, “No, to the Samsung/Renault car service. Just go straight ahead, and we will get there.” He replied, “Oh, that is just too hard!” “How can I just go straight ahead? I want to know where we are going!” I asked, “Do you know where Gayang is?” He said he did, so I told him just to go straight ahead and take me to Gayang. He began driving and then said, “But..where in Gayang?” Since he didn’t understand what I was talking about when I told him I wanted to go to the car service, but he knew what HomePlus (a big store) was, I decided that maybe he knew about the big store that was down there close to the car service, so I said, “Take me close to Gayang E-Mart.” His reply was, “Oh! You want to go to E-Mart!” I corrected him and said, “I said close to E-mart.” That seemed to satisfy him for the moment.
As we drove down the road, he said, “Oh! this is just too hard! You don’t speak Korean at all, do you?” (It made no sense because our whole conversation had been in Korean.) I said, “I can speak Korean, maybe not well, but I can speak Korean.” His reply was, “You live in the Rose Apartments, don’t you?” I replied that I did, and he said, “I live in the Rose Apartments too! I live in the second section!” I replied that I lived in the second section too. He was speeding and darting through traffic continually changing lanes. He was driving extremely unsafe! His phone rang, and he picked it up and talked as he was speeding and darting through traffic. We made it to the Gayang bridge, and he said to me, “Don’t you want to go to Gangnam instead of Gayang? Let’s go across town to Gamgnam!” (Gangnam is where all the rich people live in Seoul.) I replied, “No. I told you. I want to go to the Samsung/Renault car service in Gayang.” “Oh!” he said, “Yes, you want to go to the Samsung car center!” I replied, “Yes, the Samsung car center.” The Samsung car service was on the right, and he got in the left lane. He was always in the wrong lane. He was always in the turning lane instead of the one going straight ahead, but he never turned. He darted back through traffic, and then finally got in the right lane.
The car service was just ahead, and I said, “There is it. We are here!” He said, “Yes, that is the Samsung car service. Should I stop?” I told him to stop, so he did. I pulled out some Korean won (the kind of money they use in Korea) to pay for my ride and tried to hand it to him, and he said, “No. I can’t take this!” I was confused. I pulled out my credit card and said, “Will you take this?” He took my credit card and scanned it in his machine. I told him bye, and got out of the car thinking, “How would anyone who doesn’t speak Korean ride with that guy?”
When I went into the car service, my car was ready. They had done a good job, and I had had a very crazy taxi ride. You will get where you need to go if you ride in a Korean taxi without having too long of a walk, but you may be completely confused the whole time you are in the taxi because the taxi cab drivers can be completely crazy.