Last week’s blog mentioned about seeds being sown for the chauffeur business, although, at that stage I had no plans to change my career any time soon. The global company I worked for gave me plenty of opportunities to travel abroad, which I loved for many years. More often than not when I was overseas, the business trip was very much like this: taxi from the airport to the hotel, the next morning, taxi from the hotel to the office and at the end of the working day, taxi back to the hotel, change clothes and then taxi to the evening meal somewhere other than the hotel if we were lucky, then taxi back to the hotel and repeat.
So, you can see being sat in the back seat allowed me time to experience the varying standards of driving in many different countries. One of the worst I have ever experienced was in Istanbul Our team were being taken back to the hotel late at night by two taxis. The drivers drove at an unsafe speed, braked erratically, cornered sharply with the result that we were literally being thrown about. We were fearing for our lives when, for some reason, it seemed they stopped in the middle of the road and refused to go any further. We had to pay and get out - I have no idea to this day why and all I can think of is that perhaps we hit a time limit for those particular drivers shift.
So perhaps it was a blessing that our taxi driver threw us out! The drama didn’t stop there though as when our team tried to find our way back to the hotel, the rest of the team decided to go to a night club, which I didn’t want to do, so I was left on my own to find my way back. There was no way I was going to attempt to find another taxi and potentially risk my life again!
Thank goodness for 3G and an iPhone - I turned on Maps and entered the name of the hotel, which it found immediately and I proceeded to walk the 3.5 miles back. However, it was a race against time as my battery was getting low. At least it was quite hot weather in the middle of the night and not raining.
I took the shortest distance to the hotel, walking past a group a people when I couldn’t fail to notice some poor person was on the floor being kicked and beaten - something inside me was being torn to help him, but I decided the best thing to do was to keep looking straight ahead and walk through the crowd literally praying as I did.
Thankfully the same time my iPhone battery died, I could see the neon lights of the hotel high above all other buildings. I finally arrived at my room, safe and thankful.
I did however, find the people in that city very welcoming and their turkish delight was the best I ever tasted - the family enjoyed them too!