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Who’s Driving You?

Not long ago I’ve learned the importance of making friends with taxi drivers. Each time I travel, I try to make a few changes to make it less of a hassle for myself. My bags have become smaller, and sometimes non existent, and I prefer to show up in a city without having to figure out if language will be a barrier, or if I’ll get one of the taxi drivers who smells of weeks-old panang beef and creek water.

Now, before hopping in a taxi, I allow the drivers to approach me at the airport so I can screen their personality and attitude, and hopefully their odor (not in a creepy way at all). We talk about my travels and theirs, and I ask for tips and advice about the city. Where should I go, eat, see. They gladly offer, and sometimes turn off the meter to show me some sites along the way when I tell them I’ll leave them a generous tip.

Before paying, I ask for their contact information so I can be sure to use them when I return. We become pseudo friends who ask about kids and family and new projects and goals during the ride.

Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.

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