Saturday, August 20, 2011

Proceed two kilometres, then turn Left....

Cross posted at Adrian the Cab Driver's Blog.

There is only one way to leave Brisbane airport by road, and that is to travel two kilometres then turn (left for the city). This cab driver, one of the new guard of Indian student drivers, needed the GPS to get him out of the Brisbane Airport, the longest cul-de-sac in the country.

"Lennons" was the destination. With experienced drivers this would have been sufficient. Or perhaps I'd have to say "The City please mate, Lennons Hotel". The driver refused to accept there was such a hotel, until he phoned a friend (who must have used the phone book, or google, or something).

Lennons Hotel is fair smack in the middle of the city, it fronts onto the Queen Street mall, vehicle access is via a rear laneway. Queen Street Brisbane, in front of Lennons Hotel, has been closed to vehicular traffic since 1988. The GPS in the taxi was unaware of this 25 year old street closure, and directed us to drive down what used to be Queen St.

Queen Street is now covered in kiosks, fountains & pubs, it even has a full roof over it. The "cabbie" couldn't process this. Hopeless without the GPS, he went into denial, taking me for a drive around the adjacent financial district, then came back for a second go at Queen St.

In the intervening 5 minutes Queen street hadn't magically opened to traffic.

Favourite moment: The manner in which pedestrians scattered like chooks when my "cabbie" revved the engine outside the casino then pointed the nose of the cab at Queen St. For a minute I think he intended using "speed" as a method of overcoming an obstacle known as "architecture".

However he then decelerated, before haring off for a few more trial laps of the financial district, which included two attempts by my driver to eject me (& luggage) onto Edward Street.

Curtly explaining the outcome for him if he had a go at removing from the cab me & my luggage two blocks from my hotel at midnight, I suggested he "stop & ask another taxi driver". We first had another tour of Charlotte, Market, Eagle & some other streets.

On the Adelaide St. taxi rank another driver demonstrated how to reach Lennons. With hand movements. It was one block away, around a corner.

Simple enough you think?

About this stage I stopped trying to help the driver, if he cannot find a hotel when he is within one city block of it, and instead gets lost, what help could I be?

This time we surged down the Albert Street mall. To the bug-eyed amazement of pedestrians we wended & wound through the crowd & around obstacles. Then we toured the financial district again, before having another run along the mall in Albert St.

By the third time we went up the Albert Street mall, the pedestrians & I were giving knowing nods to each other.

Finally the driver stopped right in the middle of the mall & alighted. Leaving they keys in the ignition, the motor running and the door open, he wandered off into the crowd to see if he could find Lennons by himself, or something.

The evening, which I had thought couldn't get any better, then reached a rather unbeatable climax by........

........ a 13yo Samoan kid jumping into the driver's seat & hijacking the taxi. With me in it.

The "hijack" came to a quick end when the Samoan lout realised, via the method of six foot of irate passenger grabbing a handful of his shirtfront, that his crime of opportunity had been poorly researched.

It was midnight, I'd flown two legs with Qantas, had been in the taxi for about an hour & a half, (for what should have been a twenty minute journey) and I wasn't in the mood for the night to end with me having a starring role in "High-speed police chase Brisbane".


kae said...

My life is soooo boring...

So, did the driver come back?

And if he did, how much did that debacle cost you?

WV: motam - nah, should be woftam.

richard mcenroe said...

He probably sent the kid to get the cab.