Tuesday, April 7, 2009


One of the interesting things about Libreville is that there is no public transport. This means that if you´re not a great walker you need to get into a taxi. And here´s how it works.

The taxis are all shabby red-and-white Toyotas (most cars out here are Toyotas; for some mysterious reason the Gabonese took special liking to Toyotas). Forget seatbelts or, in some cases, door handles. If the windows are open, they stay open, there is no way of regulating them. Most of the windscreens are broken. And they go 100 km per hour as a rule. But that´s ok because there are no speed limits.

If, in spite of all this, you decide to get into one of them, you should stand on the sidewalk (if there is any) and wait for the taxi-driver to announce the fact that he´s coming by loud hooting. If this doesn´t scare you away, the driver will stop by you and give you a quick glance. You´re supposed to tell him where you want to go and what amount of money you have to offer. If he approves of what you say, he will nod his head slightly, which probably translates as "get your ass into my cab now". If your ass does not want to share the taxi with other people, you must inform your driver as well (it´s more expensive, of course). Otherwise, he will pick up up to three more people on the way. Oh, and one more thing: if the driver does not feel like taking you to your destination, he will just drive on, without a word. No point wasting your breath if there´s no cash in it.

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