As a lot of you know when I first came to Korea, I lived in the small city of Jeonju. Looking back, I definitely took it for granted because everyone, taxi drivers included, was much nicer. Taxi drivers were eager to have me and did not avoid me like those in Seoul. That being said, I’ll share a couple of the more unique stories that I’ve had in taxis!
I think I’m too trusting, but it usually works out.
When I was in Jeonju, I got lost on the buses all the time so I often ended up taking taxis home after class. Plus, it was only about 3,500 won (like 3 bucks) for the trip, so I didn’t see much harm in doing so. There was always a line of taxis happily waiting outside of my university. I got into one and the driver was oh so sweet. He kept telling me how beautiful I was [um, lies, because I looked gross in 2011 lol #GlowUp] and said my Korean was good, yada yada yada. When I arrived at my destination, he asked me for my phone number..then I got creeped out all of sudden and I think he could tell. He said, “No, I want you to meet my daughter! She’s learning English and needs foreign friends to help her!” In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have given him my phone number…he did know where I lived…but I was a lil’ naive and did it.
I got a phone call a couple of hours later from his daughter saying that she wanted to come my apartment that night! …I was thinking, that’s a little bold of her but at least I knew it was her that’d be coming and I lived with a Korean family who could protect me, haha. They said it was fine if she came over. A couple of hours later she arrived at my doorstep and said, “Let’s go!” Eh? Let’s go where? Then she said she wanted to take me out for dinner….she had never mentioned this before…I was no longer safe in the comfort of my homestay family’s apartment. Well, I went with her. Her dad was waiting downstairs in his taxi to drop us off at the restaurant.
She and I went to some fancy meat place and just talked and talked – she was so sweet! She was going to go to the Philippines soon to study English and wanted some practice before she left. We really clicked and she paid for the meal 🙂 Ah, but she did buy me Coke (that I didn’t ask for) and at that time I had been on a soda fast for over a year…but I couldn’t say no…all of that progress down the drain, oh well. I was really glad that I trusted that taxi driver because I made a lovely friend out of it! We even kept in touch over email for awhile.
I don’t know how he thought he was going to get away with this – I am not the one.
About 2 months ago, my friend and I wanted to take a taxi home after a late night in Itaewon. First of all, it took 10 years to get a taxi because they all discriminate against non-Korean-looking foreigners -_- So when we finally got one that said they would take us, we were too tired to mind that he said he would charge a flat rate of 25,000 won (wayyy more than costs to get us home if he were to run the meter). As we were driving, he said he was going to charge us 35,000 instead of 25,000……who do you think you are??! I said no, we will pay the original price we agreed to – 25,000. He got really frustrated and told us to get out of the taxi. I told my friend not to move, because at that point, we were on a really dark street with no cars in sight. No, he was going to take us to our destination at the price we agreed upon.
I’d learned by reading some online forums that if a taxi driver tries to screw you over, take a picture of their ID which is always on display on the glove compartment by the passenger’s seat. So since he was acting up, I took my phone out and acted like I was taking a picture. He told me to stop and I said, “if you don’t take the price down to what you originally said, I’ll report you.” He frustratingly agreed and started driving. He suddenly stopped again and snatched my phone out of my hand!!!! I was furious. How dare he??! I told him to give me my phone back and he said “I need to make sure you didn’t take a picture.” He tried getting to my gallery but my phone was locked. He yelled at me to unlock it and I snatched my phone back. Like, who do you think you are? We were yelling at each other but I needed him to know that I. Am. Not. The. One. We paid him the 25,000 won upfront and he took us home in silence. When he dropped me off, he said, “You didn’t take a picture, right? You have to understand that if you do that I’ll get in a lot of trouble.” And I responded, “no, I didn’t, but I wouldn’t have to if you weren’t doing all of this illegal stuff,” and got out the car. UGH!!! I was proud of myself for standing my ground but also so annoyed that we had to go through that in the first place.
That’s all, folks. If you like personal stories like this, let me know! I’ve got plenty, haha.
Stay beautiful (and stand your ground if you feel safe to!),