Today, I managed to piss off a Hong Kong cabbie quite royally, and it all started when I got into his cab at Hollywood Road and told him to drive me to 'Central Plaza'.
"Cen-tral Pla-zaa," I said to him in my best Honger accent.
He stared at me through the rear-view mirror with an annoyed expression in his eye and eyebrow (that's all I could see of him).
"Um... Zhong-Wan Pla-zaa?" I tried again.
"What are you saying?" he said in Cantonese, obviously annoyed.
"You know, Zhong-Wan Dai-Ha in Wanchai?" (where 'dai-ha' meant 'building', or so I thought)
"You mean Zhong-Wan Gong-Cheung!" he gruffed back. "Pla-zaa! Get your buildings straight, you don't know what you're talking about!"
"Uhh...I'm not from around here," I said. "What's 'dai-ha' then?"
"Dai-ha is HOUSE, gong-cheung is PLAZA!" he nearly shouted at me.
"Okay, okay, now I know," I muttered back, thinking 'Same-diff, yeesh!'.
Five minutes later, as I ruffled through my bag, I came to a sudden heart-dropping realization that I had forgotten my wallet at the office, and was therefore riding in his cab without a single cent of money (OH SH!T.) Annnnd, of course, my phone was at 5% battery and ready to die.
I decided to play it cool and not let the cabbie know, while in my head I started wondering what I could give him in exchange for the ride over (nothing sexual -___-). Inside my bag was a nasty old orange umbrella, an eel-skin business cardholder, and a red and white Canada lanyard I'd bought in a dollar store back home (so, basically nothing).
I couldn't even ask him to go to an ATM since I didn't have my debit or Octopus card on me. In the end, I made a desperate call to the people organizing the event at Cen-tral Pla-zaa and managed to explain my situation, and they agreed to come down to the taxi stand and pay my cab fare (phew).
Of course, when I finally told the cabbie the news as he was pulling up to Cen-tral Pla-zaa, he was anything but happy.
"What?! You know I can't stop here," he complained. "Once someone comes I'm going to have to move!"
"I know, sorry," I said, and then sat silently waiting for my rescue.
He continued, "What is this, some kind of joke? I've never had this happen to me before, geezus..."
We sat in silence again as the meter beeped every few minutes.
"Oh great, now there's someone behind me. See, now I have to move my car!" he whined.
A few minutes later, he added, "I can't believe this is happening. I'm about to get off work and you pull this kind of shit on me--" and that was when I had just about enough.
"What, you think I wanted this?!" I yelled at him. "You think I forgot my wallet on purpose!?"
That shut him up for a few awkward minutes before he got heckled again by the building staff to clear the area. As they bantered back and forth about whether anyone was coming at all, the receiver of my collect-cab finally arrived, paid my cab fare and released me from my cabbie hostage situation.
FREEDOM NEVER FELT SO GOOD!!