For those of you who wrote me asking to subtitle the video, I thought the better thing to do would be just to write about it.
When I decided to start filming after a few moments of bashing backpackers, we picked up right where the taxi driver concluded that backpackers that live in Vietnam are worse than Vietnamese thieves and robbers. Then she tells me about an incident last week with a white guy that she picked up whose total taxi fare to pretty much cross the street was 27,000 Dong. He only gave her 12,000 Dong because he blamed her for going the wrong way, but she said that he didn't give her clear directions. He just said a bunch of English and instructed her to drive. When he reached his destination he didn't say anything until after she had driven past it. Either way 27,000 dong is not even 1.50 cents and some cabs now costs 11,000 Dong just to step in. Then I said that he was probably a backpacker teacher. The taxi driver was still fuming about the incident a week later and she repeated for a while about how the white guy went into a restaurant and told the staff members that the taxi driver was trying to cheat him.
Then I asked her how long she has been driven. She told me she started driving when she turned 30 and after getting her license she started driving a taxi right away. Then she went back to bashing the white guy. I claimed that I hated the backpackers area myself. I was only there to meet up with a friend from America. I insisted that I didn't have a problem with westerners in America, but the westerners that come to Vietnam are a lot different. Then we both agreed that white people living in Phu My Hung and in the more secure areas with security guards are less trashy. She started on about Koreans and Chinese who waited for a return for minimal hundred dongs. They would sit there and wait for 400 Dong in change. Children now a days won't even take 1,000 Dong as a gift. People don't even want to take 500 Dong anymore. The bare minimum is 2,000 Dong. 1,000 Dong can't buy anything. Shit candy costs 2,000 Dong.
I asked her if it was difficult when she started this job. She said it was and that she needed at least 130,000 to cut her losts. She was thrilled that I wanted to go to Phu My Hung. Prime hours were long over and she hoped that maybe she could pick someone up when she dropped me off. If she doesn't make enough money then she has to drive around all night. She could park, but she has to be careful about potential fines for parking in the wrong place. She has to drive many days to make up for fines if she parks at the wrong place. Even if she was tired she wouldn't dare stop to sleep. She's driven all night. She reaffirmed again that she was lucky to have run into me. I said that I was going to take a xe om and she said to take a taxi to support her.
She said she was from Tay Ninh. I asked her if she Caodaist and she said was Catholic. I inquired about how she got the idea of driving a taxi. She said there was nothing else for her to do that could generate money. Her family was initially against it. She was originally a seamstress. And she got into this exact company just by learning how to drive privately and then signing up to be a part of this company. It's a matter of personal choice she said.
Some taxi drivers are jackasses. Some have been extremely charming. It ain't easy when there's so many competition. I thought my life was unstable. So the next time that you guys think that all taxi drivers are out there to scam people, then you're wrong. Absolutely wrong. Remember, there's a real person in front of you and behind that wheel.
Special thanks to Trung for the support.