A funny experience I had to share….
It was my last day in Argentina at the height of rush hour traffic. I made sure I was going to get to the airport 3 hours early, I am sure you have heard the term “latin time” before. I reserved a remis (code word for taxi) to pick me up at 7pm to arrive at the airport by 8pm. Once I stepped outside of the apartment I couldn’t find the remis so I jumped in the first cab I saw.
And the adventure began! Buenos Aires is the 10th largest city in the world and the rush hour traffic there rivals with the likes of New York City. They have the widest street in the world, Avenida 9 Julio, that stretches 17 lanes (sorry Los Angeles, your highways don’t even come close). We started to play a game of cat and mouse. In bumper to bumper traffic the taxi driver would speed up and then come to a SCREETCHING halt when we reached the car in front of him. Promptly after he would say “oh no lo pege” which means “oh I didn’t hit him”. I had to ask…. (I was still pretty relaxed from the event at Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo Argentina)
He told me that he tried to get as close as he could to the cars in front of him without hitting them. He also said he got bonus points for volkswagons. Soon we jumped on the highway and we played the same game, only with the cars to the right and left of him. If you have ever been to South America you would know that they drive ON THE LINES dividing the highway not in between them. He quickly stopped playing the game once we got out on the open road. There was one scare where he almost hit the car in front of him and this time it was no game. This was already worse when my carry on luggage was destroyed when travelling
The second scare came immediately after which prompted me to investigate further. He now started to play a new game, take 30 second naps at the wheel. Yes folks, he was literally falling asleep while he was driving. I had to think of things to talk to him about, even hitting the seat when he didn’t respond to my questions because he was dozing off. I guess that’s my karma for not waiting for the remis to show up.
Point of the story: Keep your taxi driver happy in Argentina or else.
Other Awkward & Funny Situations in Argentina: