The taxis of Panama City have recently been regulated and painted yellow, New York style. The one we got into on Saturday night was dark green. It was at the taxi rank beside all the shiny yellow taxis and the driver was very persuasive, so, like the fools we are, we got in.
Left passenger door didn’t work – no problem, we’ll get in the right hand side door. No real covers on rear seat. Oh well, things aren’t perfect here, we know that! Smashed crackle-effect side rear passenger window… open front passenger window – well, maybe the driver just likes the fresh air!
We were going to a party – our first night out as a ‘grown-up’ couple for over 5 months – there was a lot riding on this, so we stayed in the taxi. For once I was out with no danger of children’s sticky hands getting on my clothes – it felt good. Until the driver ran through a gigantic puddle, and the water splashed through the open passenger window onto my top. Dirty puddle water – just my luck!!
On the bright side we gave him completely the wrong directions but somehow he managed to get us to our destination, so maybe getting into this dodgy taxi was our destiny.
A couple of days later I called a taxi to take me to the mall… you know what’s coming next, don’t you? I got to see this delightful cab in the daylight! So, to add to the non-functioning rear door, the smashed side window, the non-functioning front window (by this time I had realized that the driver was not trying to get some extra fresh air!), I could see the full horror of this taxi.
Large horizontal (1 ½ foot long) crack on right hand side of windscreen. Vertical crack up left hand side of windscreen extending from dashboard to roof. No side mirror. No rear seat covering – some kind of blanket over the seat. No seatbelts (this seems to be a standard feature of Panama taxis).
Now most taxis here are not up to the standard of those in the UK, but this one really took it to extremes. I didn’t take any pictures – I felt it would have been rude of me – but if I ever take this cab again, rest assured I won’t hold back.