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Exposé: Medellin, Colombia Taxi Drivers Tell All

 Transport Colombia

It’s been almost nine months since I did my last “Taxicab Confession” post.  The first one was in Jodhpur, India and it got such a GREAT response from readers that I thought I would do another one while in Colombia.  Everyone said the same thing… “WE WANT MORE!”

I started this post back in October but the photos I had from that day I lost on a hard-drive that got stolen.  So I couldn’t use any of those interviews for this series.  Was a shame because one guy told me how he got a call for a pick-up at a house in Envigado (same area where Pablo Escobar used to live).  He said a guy walked up to his window when he arrived and told him to pop the trunk.  He did and the man threw something in, shut the trunk, walked around to his window and tossed him a $100 USD bill.  He told him to get rid of the body!  Yeah I know, crazy huh and so I just had to ask him what he did with the body.  He said he drove straight to the police station and told them what happened, that was it.  Hard to top that story and it kills me I lost the photo of that guy but that’s life.

So before I left out in April I took a day to start over and see what I could get.  As expected I got lots of guns, drugs and sexy women stories that were a far cry different from the confessions in India.  Read below to see what the Paisa taxi drivers had to say about the strange and crazy stuff that happens to them while working the streets of Medellin, Colombia!

Transport Colombia

“I once picked up a married couple one evening.  They were both drunk but the lady started to throw-up in the back seat so I stopped to kick them out.  The husband got mad and started kicking my taxi and we fought!  He threw a rock into my windshield then called the police on me.  When the police came they said it was their fault and made the man pay for my windshield, which was $480,000 COP ($267 USD) ”

  • Rents his taxi per-day at $73,000 COP ($40.55 USD)
  • Years Driving: 9 years
  • Biggest Tip: $20,000 COP ($11.11 USD)

Pet Peeve: “I hate gringos and black guys from the coast because they slam the taxi door when they get out!”

Transport Colombia

“One time I picked up an old nun who was really short.  She was so short that I didn’t see her in the back in my mirror and I forgot she was in the taxi.  I seen someone standing on the street waving for a taxi so I pulled over and he got in the front seat.  I realized then that I already had a fare but lucky for me they were going to the same place and was able to charge them a separate rate!”

  • Owns his own taxi
  • Years Driving: 4 years
  • Biggest Payday: $213,000 COP ($118.33 USD)

Taxi Tip: “I enjoy picking up gringos, they tip the best!  If they don’t speak any Spanish that is ok for me.  All they have to do is write down the address and I will find it if it’s in Medellin.”

Transport Colombia

“I picked up 3 guys once and something was different about them.  They kept talking in code to each other and on the cell phone… I realized then that they were paramilitary!  They didn’t do anything to me but I was very nervous the whole ride.”

  • Rents his taxi per-day at $65,000 COP ($36.11 USD)
  • Years Driving: 10 years
  • Biggest Tip: only $2,000-$3,000 COP ($1.67 USD)

5-0 Run In: “I got pulled over by a female police officer once.  She wanted to see my documents (drivers license) but I had left them at home in a different pair of pants.  She gave me a ticket because I didn’t have them and it cost me $250,000 COP ($138.89 USD)!”

Transport Colombia

“I was driving one night in a bad neighborhood and I drove right through a gang fight on the street without knowing it.  When I realized what the sounds were I speed through as fast as I could.  When I made it out I seen 4 bullet holes in the windshield but luckily none get me.”

  • Rents his taxi per-day at $70,000 COP ($38.89 USD)
  • Years Driving: 20 years

I Heart Japan: “A Japanese tourist once took me out to eat lunch, then gave me a $50,000 ($27.76 USD) tip.  I really like Japanese tourist, they are so nice!”

Transport Colombia

“One night I picked up a travesti (ladyboy) that was drunk.  He got in the backseat and I took off.  I looked back in the mirror a few minutes later and he was getting naked.  I pulled the taxi over and kicked him out naked on the street next to a commercial building with lots of people around.”

  • Rents his taxi per-day at $60,000 COP ($33.33 USD)
  • Years Driving: 18 years
  • Biggest Tip: $20,000 COP ($11.11 USD)

Lawyers Suck: “The only time someone didn’t pay me was a drunk lawyer.  He said he didn’t have the $14,000 COP and I didn’t feel like fighting with him over it, I didn’t make a scene on it and let him go.”

Transport Colombia

“Once a 42 year-old lady gave me a taxi for free.  I asked why she would do that and she said I don’t owe her any money but when she wants sex she would call me.   Finally after 5 months I told her no more because I was tired of her calling me all the time.  She sold the taxi and ended up giving me half the money.  She still tries to call me to this day but I don’t answer her because I know she was married.  Her husband was a rich man but a bad lover!”

  • Rents his taxi per-day at $80,000 COP ($44.44 USD)
  • Years Driving: 18 years
  • Biggest Tip: $50 USD.  An American didn’t have any pesos with him so he gave me $50 and told me to keep the change!

Guerrilla not Gorilla: “I picked up three men from the bus terminal one night.  We started driving and next thing I know I was waking up on the street.  They were guerrillas and they hit me on the back of the head and knocked me out.  They stole my taxi.”

Transport Colombia

“I picked up a prostitute once who tried to drug me with Scopolamine (a common drug in Colombia that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless that can be put into a drink or blown into ones face).  I didn’t smell anything but my hands started tingling and I started to get dizzy.  I pulled the taxi over as quickly as I could and kicked her out.  I called my sister for help and she came to find me.  When she found me I was sleeping in my taxi.”

  • Rents his taxi per-day at $68,000 COP ($37.78 USD)
  • Years Driving: 20 years

Kids Will Be Kids: “I stopped at a red light one night and 4 boys, ages between 12-16 years old, walked up and put a gun in my face.  They stole my money, glasses and clothes.  I was left naked in my taxi!”

Transport Colombia

“I picked up a prostitute who wanted to have sex with me in the backseat.  I told her I was a good Christian and don’t want that.  She was drunk and wanting to make some money on a slow night.”

  • Owns his own taxi
  • Years Driving: 5 years
  • Biggest Payday: $200,000 COP ($111.11 USD)
  • Avg Payday: $150,000 COP ($83.33 USD)

Taxi Tip: “It’s safer to call a taxi to your place then to get one off the street.  If something happens the police can call the headquarters and see who drove to your location for pick-up.”

Transport Colombia

“I picked up a women at a hotel once (it was an hourly hotel).  When driving I noticed a car was following my taxi.  When I stopped to let the lady out, the car stopped behind me and a man got out and started yelling at the lady.  They were fighting when I pulled off as I found out it was her husband and he wanted to know why she was at a hotel!”

  • Owns his own taxi
  • Years Driving: 1 year
  • Biggest Payday: $200,000 COP ($111.11 USD)
  • Avg Payday: $160,000 COP ($88.89 USD)

Cops Make The Best Drivers: “I’m a retired police officer with 21 years.  I just drive the taxi for extra money now and to keep busy.  I never have any issue with getting tickets because I tell them who I am and they tell me to be safe and leave me alone.”

Transport Colombia

“I picked up a street collector (basically a bum who collects trash out of bins to recycle) and the man gave me a $200,000 COP ($111.11 USD) tip!  I didn’t know this before but we were talking and I told him about my personal problems at the moment with money for my family.  When he gave me the money he told me that a rich man gave him $500,000 and he gave me the $200,000 because he said he didn’t need it as much as I did and wanted to share the wealth.”

  • Rents his taxi per-day at $69,000 COP ($38.33 USD)
  • Years Driving: 5 years

3 Is a Crowd: “Three men got into my taxi and told me to drive outside the city.  After 20 minutes one guy pulled out a gun and made me pull over.  They kicked me out and stole my taxi.”

Transport Colombia

“I picked up a women from Costa Rica who wanted to go to the metro.  I lived in Costa Rica for 2 years so we talked a lot about her country and I gave her my taxi card with my number on it.  When she got out she forgot to pay me.  She called me later that night and said she forgot and was sorry.  She paid me and did the right thing.”

  • Owns his own taxi
  • Years Driving: 10 years

Americans are Rich: “An American man gave me $15 USD once because he didn’t know where to go and I helped him out.  I didn’t even give him a ride as he was on the street and just told him how to find the place.  Was easy money!”

Transport Colombia

“I picked up five people from a bank once.  We drove down the road and at the first stop light we were waiting for the light to change.  Two men on motorbikes came up to my window and told me to turn off the taxi and there would be no problem.  They had guns and robbed the five people in my taxi, which they had a lot of money.  Somehow in the confusion an envelope fell and got left in my floor in the back.  I found it later and it had over $200,000 COP ($111+ USD) in it!”

  • Owns his own taxi
  • Years Driving: 12 years

Sometimes A Tip Isn’t Money: “I once had two girls get in one night and they started kissing each other in the back.  Then one lifted the other girls shirt up and was kissing her breast!  I didn’t say anything but I did adjust the mirror for a better look!”

If you want more and haven’t read the original post I wrote when in India, click on the photo below!

Medellin Colombia drivers

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  • http://twitter.com/rtwdave David Lee

    Awesome man, I can’t even pick a best story.  Probably the last one!  

    I didn’t realize how many taxi drivers get their entire car stolen.  I’m surprised most don’t have some protective barrier or cage like they do in other countries (Uruguay), or even New York City.

  • http://www.foggodyssey.com/ foggodyssey

     Why doesn’t that surprise me you liked the last story best man! lol  Yeah seemed like 1-3 drivers who had driven for more then 10 years had gotten heir taxi stolen at some point.  You’ll have to post a picture about the cage in Uruguay taxis so I can see what you mean.

  • http://expertvagabond.com/ Matthew Karsten

    Ha! Such great stories as usual Troy! It seems life is never boring working as a Taxi driver…

  • http://www.foggodyssey.com/ foggodyssey

    I’d agree and it makes more sense to me now when a taxi driver refuses to drive to some locations… sometimes it’s just not worth the risk!  Was surprised at how many had gotten robbed and had their taxi stolen in the few I talked with. 

  • http://www.chickybus.com/ Lisa @chickybus.com

    I love this–it’s simply brilliant! Great stories and just as interesting as the India version. Glad you did this! 

  • http://hikebiketravel.com/ Leigh_mcadam

    I’ve just booked a trip to Colombia for next February so this post really resonates with me. Great stories and pretty sad how little these guys get tipped. I’ll remember that when I’m there.

  • http://www.foggodyssey.com/ foggodyssey

    Yeah I thought it was just as good as the Indian one to because I was told so much more different stuff.  Nice to see the contrast from different countries.  Will have to keep doing these more.

  • http://www.foggodyssey.com/ foggodyssey

    Colombians don’t normally tip (unless their happy-go-lucky drunk) but if my change was under 500 COP, I would just tell them to keep it, if they were cool.  Always got a big happy “Gracias senior!” whenever I did.

  • http://amanofnonation.com/ Kevin Post

    This is great! One of my good friend’s roommates was a taxi driver and on the rare occasion we saw him he had nothing but hilarious or scary stories to share with us. He almost died in a neighborhood called La Gabriela in Bello. If he had left a few minutes later he, his customer and his taxi would have been caught in the mudslide. He and his customer were very lucky.

    I look forward to your next taxi driver exposé

  • BeyondBlighty

    I like the one about the homeless guy. It’s nice that they’re not all stories about robbery and prostitution! I’ll be in Colombia in 2 weeks and you’ve inspired me to ask lots of questions of any taxi drivers I meet. If I get any good stories, I’ll let you know!

  • http://www.foggodyssey.com/ foggodyssey

    Great, if you get a good story would love to hear about it!  Good luck, always love me some Colombia, such a great country! 

  • http://www.rajasthantours.net/rajasthan-tourism/ Rajasthan Tourism

     great story…i love that…

  • http://www.happinessplunge.com/ Adam Pervez

    Wow, amazing stories. Thanks for sharing. It’s true. The taxi drivers in Colombia know what’s going on.. and have a good sense of humor.

  • Expat Chronicles

    Great post! It’s true most Colombian taxi drivers fear the gringo door slam. I didn’t know black guys were included. But every time I get out of a cab the driver reaches back to catch the door before it slams, just to learn this gringo is hip to their pet peeve :)

    P.S. I don’t believe Scopolamine can be blown in the face.

  • Expat Chronicles

    I also liked that story but couldn’t help thinking, “That’s why he’s homeless.”

  • Funtimes68

    Looking for a cab driver in April to take me around town hide classy girls

  • http://sbsol.me/ web design dubai

    Oh Cab seems to be intresting but the thing is that i have my own car. So thanks



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