‘I think you can be a d*ck sometimes’.
‘I agree, I really think I can’.
I step into the taxi convinced the driver is going to rip me off, taking me on a detour, getting an unvoluntariely tour of Argentina’s wine province.
The skeptcism is based on a one-off experience in Buenos Aires when I was told my hundred peso note was fake (which it wasn’t) and a number of taxi drivers trying to overcharge me in Budapest and Kolkata.
This time there are no excuses, really. The guy behind the wheel has not given me any reason to dislike him expect for his chosen profession, but I am tired and exhausted and in a shitty mood. It’s a day when working 12 hours straight for three weeks has taking its toll. A day when my face is bleak and eyes are tired. It’s a day when I just want things to go smoothly.
I’ve spent weeks running around cities in Argentina marked restaurants and hostels on maps, harassed tourism offices, taken photos of menus, asked for prices hospitality staff have been very reluctant to share and eaten way too much meat for an ex-vegetarian and now I’m on my way to a posada in Chacras de Coria – a leafy and affluent town a few kilometres from Mendoza.
We drive past the gated fincas and summer houses of wealthy mendocinos. I’ve looked at the map and this is not the way.
Tired and convinced the driver is taking the wrong way on purpose, I curse to myself and curse the fact I don’t have a car. I also curse taxi drivers in general and that I’m a foreigner and per se a tourist. I curse most things to be honest.
He pulls off the road and ask a man out jogging for directions. The man looks around and shrugs his shoulders. Not a good sign, but somehow driving up and down the road we manage to find my accommodation for the night. I look at the meter reader. Why does it say ARS$180? That’s way too much.
I don’t tip him. I squint my eyes. Give him a disapproving frown and mutter; ‘You took a detour’. On purpous, I add. He laughs and assures me he hasn’t and that I can ask the staff at the posada how much it normally costs. Yeah right I think and give him an unimpressed thank you, surprised he’s not insulted by my accusations.
‘You can bet your ass I will ask them’.
I need to know. ‘How much is a taxi usually from here, back to the city?’, I ask the girl welcoming me to Parador del Angel.