I love to travel, but like everything else it has its ups and downs. One of the things that causes me the greatest anxiety is using taxis in new places. Frankly, I dont like getting ripped off.

Dont get me wrong: I understand that in Panama there is going to be a gringo premium. I dont really mind paying 3 dollars for a ride that would have cost a local 2 dollars. Similarly in Kenya I didnt not mind paying 300 shillings for a ride that would have cost a local 200 shillings.

When I was in Kenya almost every night I used to walk from the apartment to the same group of cab drivers about 50 yards down the road to take a mile or so ride to a street corner that had my favorite restaurant in Nairobi on it (Cedars). On the rare occasion I was bored with Cedars I could go nearby to Osteria. Also on that corner was the night club Casablanca.

I had made this trip (and then back) at least 50 or 60 times with the same cab drivers. Yet every time I got it and said Cedars they would say 400 shillings. I would then have to say no, 200 shillings and then we would settle on 300 shillings. On the way back it was the same thing only I didnt have to tell them where I was going because they knew.

In my last week in Nairobi I went through this same routine. It was a little bit late when I was coming back and I didnt feel like arguing with the guy. He said 400 shillings. I said ok.

With that, the new price had been set. I could not argue at all with any of them anymore. They knew I had paid 400 shillings for that ride once, and they were going to make sure that was what I paid from now on.

Fortunately I only had to deal with that 3 times or so as it was my last week.

Which brings me to tst lucia bushe Caribbean. Taxis in the Caribbean are expensive and it is a constant hassle to deal with them. I went to St. Lucia last month and decided I would learn the bus system. Check out the picture to the side. Every one of those minivans with a green license plate is a public bus they are everywhere. They seem to have some pre-arranged stops but also you can just flag the down wherever you want and ask the to let you out wherever. I cant quite figure out precisely how the pricing works, but every 5 miles or so costs you a 1.50. I had no problems.

On my recent trip to Anguilla I got done with work a day early and so decided to spend the night in St. Martin which I had not done before. Looking around on the internet it looked like it would be 25-30 dollars to take a taxi from the airport to Philipsburg, and that I would have to haggle with the cab driver. Unwilling to do that I decided to try taking the bus. Im glad I did. It was an adventure and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

It turns out taking the bus was easy, and it only cost me 2 dollars for the 30 minute ride to Philipsburg.

Below is the view from the minivan.

IMG_5579

And yes, did manage to hang out at the end of the runway in St. Martin. I did not get to see a 747, but I shot this video that is pretty cool: